One billion. That’s how many smartphones were manufactured in 2013 alone. This merely confirms what everyone already knows: smartphones are everywhere. Today, a phone that can only place and receive calls seems as archaic as a black-and-white TV.
From downloading apps to streaming music to checking Facebook, a great deal of smartphone functionality relies on the Internet. Because of the dramatic proliferation of mobile devices, the web is becoming increasingly mobile-responsive. Mobile-responsiveness is web design aimed at crafting a site that can be easily navigated, regardless of whether it’s being accessed on a computer monitor, phone, smart watch, or any screen in between. Any savvy marketer knows the value of responsive design. Here are 5 reasons why:
- Mobile Internet Usage: 2014 was a historic year for the Internet as it marked the first time that mobile usage exceeded desktop usage. More people access the internet on mobile devices than on their desktops. Mobile devices now account for 60% of the digital media consumption in the US. And that’s not all; according to Google, 77% of mobile searches occur at home or work, where desktop monitors are likely to be available. Even when a desktop is within reach, people prefer to use their mobile devices.
- User Experience: Panning, scrolling, and zooming is a pain in the butt when attempting to navigate a non-responsive web site on a phone. Not only is it annoying, but it can be detrimental from a marketing standpoint. According to mobiForge, 46% of mobile web users are unlikely to return to a site they had trouble accessing in the past. Tablet users are 33% less likely to purchase online from a company if they experience bad website performance. Retail stores are designed to be easy to browse and navigate. Your online store should be the same way.
- Multimedia Implementation: A responsive website will be able to integrate video, music, and other media far more seamlessly than a site that isn’t responsive. Not only does this enhance user experience, it strengthens your web presence by increasing your click-through rate and keeping visitors engaged longer, exposing them to more content.
- Screen Diversity: More and more devices are gaining the capability to connect to the internet. Not only are people surfing the web on computers, phones and tablets, everything from televisions, gaming systems, and watches now have internet access. Heck, even refrigerators are connected to the web. This diverse landscape necessitates the use of mobile-responsiveness in order to accommodate the amazingly wide array of screens that now display websites. Your site should look as good to the person viewing it on their watch, as it looks for the person viewing it on their 40″ flatscreen.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): In April 2015, Google undertook a massive shift in the way that it ranks the order of sites returned from a web search. Bing quickly followed. This shift penalized sites that Google didn’t consider to be “mobile-friendly”. If your site isn’t mobile-responsive, Google ranks it lower than sites that are. Check out Google’s free tool to see if your site meets their criteria.