Not All Responsive Websites are Created Equal

As both a web developer and designer, I have spent a lot of my time the past few years looking at other responsive websites for inspiration. While on this quest, I have found that mobile website standards vary widely. A responsive website is one that detects a device’s screen size and adjusts content to fit that device. Some websites lack any sort of responsiveness which makes the site unusable on any device besides a desktop, while others simply scale down the site without thinking about how content will change on a smaller screen. The best developers understand the role responsiveness plays in UX and scale-down sites with specific formatting and content geared for different device sizes. To emulate the best developers, it is crucial to understand how responsive content affects UX as well as knowing the proper way to design and implement that design.

Basic Best Practices of Responsive Websites

There are no strict guidelines for responsive websites which is why there are so many different ways to set one up. However, that doesn’t mean you should try to finish it as fast as possible while forgetting why you are making it responsive in the first place. When creating a responsive design one thing that I think gets overlooked is the reduction of content for other devices. Users of devices like tablets or smartphones are on the site to try and find what they are looking for and by reducing the content makes it easier for them to find what they are looking for. If for some reason you do not want to reduce the amount of content another way to narrow a user’s experience would be to hide content that could be considered unnecessary to show all of the time. An example would be to hide more detailed text in an accordion menu so that if a user wants to read more they can click to see the rest of the information. The final recommendation I will talk about in more detail below but it has to do with ensuring you are using responsive images. There are typically not many images on a mobile version of a website but if you need them then you want to make sure that they are the same high-quality image that is scaled down correctly. This is important because you do not want to have images that are hard to see or do not add to the message you are trying to convey.

How responsive images and content affect UX

Responsive content or lack thereof heavily determines a user’s interpretation of the brand and company as a whole. If there is an image on the site that looks normal on a desktop but distorted on a mobile device, then that image should be resized to fit appropriately. Images, graphics, and logos are typically what I look for when determining if a site is responsive or just a smaller version of the desktop site. I find that the content layout is where most of the issues are on other devices. If a user goes to a page on a tablet and the logo and title are overlapping or the content doesn’t have a defined width, then the user will have to scroll to see the hidden content. This disrupts the UX for anyone using that device and causes users to leave and search elsewhere.

How the execution of a responsive website affects conversions

The push in the development community is to make every site mobile friendly since the number of mobile users makes up more than fifty percent of the total users across all devices. The goal of a responsive website is not to take a desktop site and simply put it on a phone or tablet. The goal is to redesign the site based on the device and make content specifically for those device sizes. Typically, the reason someone is on your site is that the user believes he will find the information or product he’s searching for. If said user is greeted with a site that technically works but it is formatted poorly, then he’ll be discouraged and leave the site. Thus, making sure your website is friendly for all devices ensures that users will stay on the website because excellent user experience encourages leads and conversions.

If you have any questions about responsive content or how it can affect conversions, please contact us at Aronson Advertising today by calling us at (847) 297-1700.

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