Responsive website design is functional web design, with no added bling or extraneous elements. Everything is clickable, actionable, fast-loading, and leads from the landing page deeper into the site. Responsive web design means that your reader can view the page on devices from their home LED television to their smartphone with a minimum of clicking, scrolling, dragging or resizing. Keeping in mind a few simple tips when designing your site will keep you from going overboard, while at the same time helping you to bring people further into your site.
1. Get rid of unworkable content. Simply put, some types of content will not work on a responsive site. If your site was originally designed for a desktop or laptop, it’s time to update and upgrade your images. You can also have them tagged so they won’t appear on mobile browser versions of your site. This way, they can be replaced with an image indicating that this content can only be viewed on a desktop or laptop.
2. Start with a mobile site first. Mashable recommends focusing first on creating a responsive mobile site, then adding content and layout enhancements for larger screens up to desktop or television size. With the increasing numbers of tablet and smartphone users – Pew Internet pegs two-thirds of Americans using smartphones alone – mobile is no longer an afterthought to a desktop oriented website, but the starting point.
3. Go mini. Performance optimization can make or break a website. The more scripts that the page needs to load in order to be viewable and usable the longer it takes. With attention spans falling to less than that of a goldfish, you need to use a minification app to squish that soup of Java, CSS, libraries and scripts into a faster loading time.
4. Don’t be afraid to use any available responsive templates and modules. Look, nobody’s going to ask to see your creative suite. They just want a working website and don’t much care how it gets there. Neither should you. If you have the chops, by all means, set up your site on your own. If you don’t, hire a professional with a portfolio who has worked extensively with responsive website design.
Finally, while everyone may be tired of hearing about Google and SEO, it still matters very much to your search engine rank. If Google prefers responsive website design because it’s easier for their bots to index, you need to get on board. When you have multiple versions of the same site you could be losing traffic and taking a hit to your rank. By joining sites under one URL instead of a regular site and a mobile site, you’re eliminating redundant content that confuses the bots, who can’t tell which versions to include in their index. This way, with only one site and one set of content, the search engines will know how to rank your site. Make your site responsive, and watch your rank and bottom line improve.