A responsive website - what does it mean

 2015-02-18 01:55 PM by
A responsive website - what does it mean

Wikipedia's definition of a responsive website design is;

“Responsive web design (RWD) is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors).”

Mobile internet usage has been growing dramatically and there is no end in sight for it. At this point it approximately matches desktop usage.

Read more about what responsive web design is and why you need it.


What is a responsive website?

To demystify the wikipedia definition above a responsive website is a website where the screen width and content adjust depending on whether you are looking at the site on a desktop computer, a tablet or a mobile phone. The full site is displayed in the full width of the device and you do not need to manually scroll to the right to complete viewing the site.

This site is responsive so if you reduce the width of the browser on display you will see responsiveness in action. The menu, and the content gradually resize and adjust to cater for the reduced width, the menu becomes a vertical concertina menu, the content articles move to be one on top of the other rather than next to each other, in addition the images resize automatically to scale correctly on the reduced width.

That is responsiveness. If you don’t have a responsive website you can expect approximately 60% of all users who access your site via a mobile device to go and look elsewhere.

Why you need a responsive website


  • Mobile internet usage is growing exponentially
  • Google will favour a responsive site over a non-responsive site in search results
  • New devices keep coming out and your site will be able to run on those devices if it is responsive
  • Over 20% of all Google searches are from a mobile device
  • 26% of all emails are opened on mobile phones
  • About 60% of all mobile users will abandon your site if it is not responsive
  • About 92% of internet users in South Africa have a smart phone in addition to their desktop device and 80 percent of these use the smart phone to access the internet

In addition to responsiveness your site needs to be able to load fast on mobile devices. For SEO improved speed is a very effective way to decrease bounce rate, improve usability, and increase conversion rates. Google also uses speed of site and site loading issues as a ranking factor.

Many companies will have followed the mobile trend in 2011 or so and built two different sites, one for desktop devices and another for mobile devices. This is not ideal as two sets of content need to maintained, the main site and the mobile site go out of sync in terms of information updated. Typically the mobile site will have less information than the desktop site or a reduced set of functionality. A key issue is that Google will favour a responsive site over a mobile only or desktop only website.

We offer a full responsive site which is easy to maintain and resizes for all devices. Design once and manage your content on an ongoing basis. Google and your customers will love you.