Have you ever visited a website on your smart phone and it didn’t look right, it didn’t work right and you had you keep zooming in and out just to navigate? If so, that was not a responsive website. A responsive website adjusts and rearranges itself depending on the size of the device you’re using. With current technology, a responsive design is an absolute MUST for any website, new or old.
As we start the design process, we will look not only at the desktop version (both wide and standard) but also the tablet and phone versions, balancing both design and usability.
One technique to handling the mobile device problem is to use a mobile plugin. On the one hand, it’s fast and easy, doesn’t require a redesign of the website and with minimal skills, you could do it yourself. On the other hand… as a website user, I don’t like it. When I visit a site, I want to see the “real” site. Often the mobile version of the site is missing a lot of the functionality of the main site, it’s glitchy and it just doesn’t look as nice. Of course, this is only an issue with older sites. Since 2013 when I design a site, it is ALWAYS responsive.
If you’re not in the tech/design/development world, you may not have heard. Early in 2015 Google changed their site so that when a user searches for something using a mobile device, websites that aren’t responsive rank lower. Simply put, if your potential customer is using their smart phone or tablet to search for a product or service you provide and your website is not responsive, Google will put you below all of the other businesses that offer that product or service. The first few results on a search page receive the vast number of successful click-throughs. You want to make sure your site ranks as highly as possible.