It’s April 2015 and the mobile revolution has well and truly taken hold, and everywhere we look there are new ways of connecting us to the world wide web. From this month's release of the new Apple Watch, designed to be the ‘most personal device yet’, to the odd and truly wonderful. Take the smart chopsticks , a seemlingy ordinary culinary tool that when paired with an app, can help determine how fresh your food is. Or the smart toothbrush that analyzes your brushing performance, and offers tips on how to improve your technique.
Powered by this ever-changing digital landscape, the rate of mobile internet adoption is continuing to increase rapidly. Over the 12 months prior to Jan 2015, mobile internet usage (as a share of total internet usage) in the UK has grown to 45% , up over 10% on the same time last year. The month on month statistics we gather from our own ecommerce websites regularly place mobile visitors as the primary source of traffic, and the number of people we see choosing to buy via a mobile device is continuing to increase.
So, is your business mobile ready?
With an ever-increasing number of people browsing via a mobile device, can you honestly say your brand is being portrayed in the right light? Is your website accessible to a mobile device? Can all of your content be easily consumed without endless zooming and scrolling in multiple directions? First impressions count and your users will judge your business as a whole on the way in which your company is presented to them. Your business might be a world leader, with the best in class products, services and customer service, but if you are unable to effectively communicate with your customers on their terms, how will you begin to foster the trust needed for long term customer engagement and repeat business?
Thankfully, as mobile technology has continued to improve so have the tools that can be used to present your business, and long gone is the requirement to have both desktop and mobile websites. Since the phrase was first coined in 2010 by Ethan Marcotte on A List Apart ‘responsive web design’ has been leading the way in effectly crafting accessible websites viewable on any device, desktop, tablet, mobile, and many inbetween.
What is responsive design?
From Wikipedia “Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to web design 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 desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).”
To put it more simply, ‘responsive web design’ is the process of making your website or web app fully accessible across all platforms and devices. This ensures you can communicate effectively with your customers whenever, wherever and however they choose.
Aside from giving more control of how your website looks and how your content is delivered, responsive web design provides a host of other benefits;
It Saves Time and Money
With a single site that adapts to the device it is displayed on, there is no need to spend money on developing and maintaining a separate mobile solution. Plus with only a single site to manage, there will be no time wasted updating and writing content across multiple platforms.
It Increases Conversions and Sales
Creating a unified experience across platforms will provide greater usability and remove the roadblocks presented by various platforms and devices. Your customers will be able to browse, buy and consume your digital content however suits them best, ultimately leading to improved customer satisfaction and an increase in conversion rate.
It Improves Search Engine Visibility
From as early on as 2012 Google have been recommending responsive web design as their preferred mobile website solution . Now Google has announced it will be adding a mobile friendly tag to search results from April 21st and will be taking ‘mobile-friendliness’ into account when ranking your new website. So failure to be mobile-friendly could see your SEO ranking tumble, and this isn’t limited to smaller websites either. Business Insider reports that several large firms might also get punished as a result of not having a ‘mobile-friendly’ website.
Before you panic, make use of Google’s online tool to test if your site is ‘mobile-friendly’. If it isn’t, now might be a good time to consider updating your mobile offering. For an indepth look at what these results mean to your site, take a look at our mobile report analysis.
Consolidated Marking and Reporting
A further benefit of responsive design is that with only a single website, you no longer need to split your marketing budget and create separate campaigns to drive traffic to either your desktop or mobile site. Ongoing SEO can be concentrated on a single site, saving you the cost of producing separate content for multiple sites and minimising the risk of being penalised for duplicate content. With all your measurable data leading to a single source, creating meaningful reports based on your key business criteria will be much quicker.
Future Proofing ( to a point )
Responsive web design at its most basic, works by adjusting the layout of your website to better suit the device you are using. So even when new devices come on to the market, your site should naturally fit the display size on offer. This approach will cover you for most, if not all, future phones, tablets and similar screen sized devices. The caveat to this scenario is that special consideration will be required to cover devices that live at the extremes. For example; the small screen size on new Smart Watches are, in most cases, not appropriate for displaying large amounts of content. However sending live alerts to a Smart Watch for new services, offers, or content that they can read later on their mobile, means there is scope to engage with your customers on even the smallest of devices.
Stay ahead of the competition
Figures for the adoption of responsive web design vary greatly, and while most new websites are responsively designed, the most optimistic estimates for the total number of of responsive websites put it at 18.7%. Even 5 years on, you can still be an early adopter and position your brand ahead of your competitors.
Join the revolution
So, can you honestly say your mobile digital offering is portraying your brand positively? Now is the right time to take stock and check, before you’re faced with the uphill struggle of playing catch-up with both your competitors and Google.
The shameless plug
Over the last three years, Ecce Media has been dedicated to launching responsive websites, for both lead generation and ecommerce sales. You can view some of our favorites on our portfolio. Please get in touch if you need any help accessing your digital offering, designing and developing a new responsive website, or just want some advice.
 Source - statcounter.com - Combined tablet and mobile traffic.
 A combination of mobile and tablet visits, gathered via Google Analytics from our own ecommerce sites
 Figures from November 2014 measured against the top 10,000 websites, as determined by Alexa. Full Report From; www.guypo.com