Quick: How many smart phone devices can you name? Aside for the ubiquitous iPhone and Galaxy models, thousands of new devices are introduced to the smartphone market each year. Take a look at the image below illustrating fragmentation in the Android market alone; each rectangle represents the market share of various devices in August 2014. Although Galaxy holds the largest share of the market, it’s safe to say that no single device holds the majority.
While fragmentation can be a boon for consumers (more options, lower prices, better features, etc), the sheer volume of devices can be a nightmare for digital marketers and website designers. Optimizing a website for a single device is fairly straightforward, but how do you create an optimal experience that looks great and is easy to navigate on thousands of devices? Variations in device size, screen resolution, web browsers, and operating systems for every model make individualized user experience optimization nearly impossible. User experience is not something you can afford to get wrong; studies prove that user experience is a crucial factor in determining visitor retention and conversion. If your website offers a poor user experience on any device, chances are those site visitors will bounce quickly and possibly never return. The solution to this problem is responsive design. With a website that uses responsive design, you ensure that your website looks great across various desktop and mobile devices without having to make extensive changes in coding or formatting.
What is Responsive Design?
Simply put, responsive web design creates a smart user experience that adapts and reacts to whatever device the site is being viewed from. For example, if you’re viewing this site from a mobile device, chances are it will look something like this:
Now if you view this same page from a desktop, the smart elements will recognize this change and adjust themselves accordingly:
Notice that the mobile display isn’t simply a smaller version of the desktop view; banner and headline text has been enlarged for increased visibility, the menu bar has been optimized and images resized.
The Importance of Responsive Design
While many websites already incorporate responsive elements into their design, there are still too many sites that have failed to make crucial updates and are losing valuable traffic. The infographic below shares some surprising statistics regarding the importance of responsive design:
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