Web design refers to the design of websites that are displayed on the internet. It usually refers to the user experience aspects of website development rather than software development. Web design used to be focused on designing websites for desktop browsers; however, since the mid-2010s, design for mobile and tablet browsers has become ever-increasingly important.
A web designer works on the appearance, layout, and, in some cases, content of a website. Appearance, for instance, relates to the colors, font, and images used. Layout refers to how information is structured and categorized. A good web design is easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, and suits the user group and brand of the website. Many webpages are designed with a focus on simplicity, so that no extraneous information and functionality that might distract or confuse users appears. As the keystone of a web designer’s output is a site that wins and fosters the trust of the target audience, removing as many potential points of user frustration as possible is a critical consideration.
Two of the most common methods for designing websites that work well both on desktop and mobile are responsive and adaptive design. In responsive design, content moves dynamically depending on screen size; in adaptive design, the website content is fixed in layout sizes that match common screen sizes. Preserving a layout that is as consistent as possible between devices is crucial to maintaining user trust and engagement. As responsive design can present difficulties in this regard, designers must be careful in relinquishing control of how their work will appear. If they are responsible for the content as well, while they may need to broaden their skillset, they will enjoy having the advantage of full control of the finished product.
Advantages of Responsive Web Design:
A responsive website leads to a better user experience. A major factor indicating the quality of user experience is the time they spend on your site. If they find it hard to navigate or use because they're forced to constantly pinch and zoom, they won’t stay on your website.
But if your website scales and responds to the change in screen size, then visitors won’t have problems accessing menus, links, buttons or filling out forms. As a result, their user experience will be better and they'll spend more time on your site.
Statistics show that in the last quarter of 2017, nearly 52% of all global web traffic originated from mobile devices. That accounts for more than half of all Internet traffic and goes to show that you cannot afford to forego responsive web design. Start by investigating how many of your visitors come from mobile devices and the time they spend on your site. Then, implement responsive design and compare the two numbers. Once your website adapts to the viewport width, you’ll notice an increase in mobile visits and longer time on site by those same visitors.
Not so long ago, a common practice involved making a separate mobile version of your site that was served when a smaller screen size was detected. However, developing a mobile version of your site takes up more time than developing a responsive website that looks great and works as intended no matter which device your visitors are using. Another downside of a mobile website version is the fact that they cost more because your developer has to create two websites instead of one.x
Directly tied to the point above is easier website maintenance. With two versions of your website, your staff or your development team has to divide time and resources on managing two websites. With a responsive website, your staff can spend less time on maintenance tasks and focus on more important tasks such as marketing, A/B testing, customer service, product or content development, and more.
Websites that are responsive tend to load faster on all devices, but especially on smartphones and tablets. Thanks to responsive images and fluid grids, it takes significantly less time for a page to load, which has a direct impact on the duration of your user’s visit. According to research, 53% of mobile visitors will abandon a site if pages take longer than three seconds to load. The same research shows that websites that load fast benefit from more time spent on site as well as improved conversion rates. This speaks volumes about responsive web design importance.
Bounce rate signifies the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after seeing a single page only. As we’ve mentioned above, a responsive website means visitors will stay on your site longer which reduces your bounce rate. Visitors will be more inclined to click through and read other pages on your site and explore everything you've got to offer.
Another one of the advantages of responsive web design is improved search engine rank. As of April 2015, Google takes into consideration the responsiveness of your website as one of the signals that determine the rank of your website in the search engine results page. If your website isn't responsive, the search engine giant will place it lower on the results page whereas it will show up higher if it passes the mobile-friendly test.