In the past few years, it’s become fairly routine for people to maintain at least two versions of their website. They need one for the desktop and another layout entirely to suit mobile users. Even companies that were initially reluctant to make the extra investment have generally come around to the idea that they can’t afford to ignore the large pool of people out there who get online largely through their phones and tablets, and who’ll just go looking for help from a competitor rather than wait until they get home to use a site that doesn’t work well with mobile.
For those companies who struggle with the investment and additional time required to maintain multiple sites, Responsive Website Design is turning out to be the solution. It’s a design approach that involves making just one design, but using tools that cause it to adapt naturally to whatever form factor and screen size it finds the visitor using. Whether that means a 4-inch phone, an 8-inch tablet, an 11-inch netbook, or a 32″ desktop monitor doesn’t matter. The design adapts and the company itself never has to worry that the content won’t look great.
This is clearly a trend that’s going to last. That’s not just true because it’s a great investment to accommodate the many devices we have on the market now. It’s also taking over because there are so many devices coming in the future and we don’t even know what those will look like. With responsive design, though, we can be confident that the way the content is displayed will adapt naturally to allow visitors coming in from virtually any type of device to learn more about companies and to place orders for their products.
Google has already made it clear that they prefer this approach to specialized mobile web designs. If you want to stay ahead of the curve for SEO and continue to draw in more users, you need to make sure that you’re taking advantage of these tools. The trend toward using mobile devices as a primary interface to the Internet is only accelerating as more people buy tablets and smart phones, and the companies who don’t respond to this will be left behind.