We all remember the wise, old adages our parents quoted over and over throughout our childhood — “Don't judge a book by its cover.” “The early bird gets the worm.” “Two wrongs don't make a right.”
For me, the axiom that made me roll my eyes as a teenager, but which I've never forgotten, is “Don't make your experience normative.” As a kid, I didn't fully understand it, but, as an adult, I've learned to appreciate the wisdom of this adage. It means don't assume that what you're thinking/feeling/seeing is what the person next to you (or down the street, across the country or around the world) is thinking/feeling/seeing. And don't assume they're thinking/feeling/seeing it for the reasons that make sense to you. They may have very different reasons. We all have unique preferences, life experiences and societal factors that shape and influence our decisions.
By that same token, responsive website design acknowledges that there is no “normative experience” when it comes to how people view websites. Everyone views website design through their own unique lens, and this view can be affected by many things, including:
- The browser a person uses
- The version of that browser
- The particular device they’re using (a Mac, PC, phone or tablet)
- The way they’re holding the phone or tablet (upright or sideways)
Responsive website designers anticipate these variables (and many more) and create a flexible and responsive site that is optimized for whatever device is accessing it.
5 advantages of responsive website design
Customers appreciate responsive website design because it means that no matter how someone views a site, they can expect to see all the information the site has to offer. It's frustrating to visit a site on your phone, only to realize that the information you need is difficult to find or not available on mobile at all.
As smartphones became ubiquitous, many companies created both a mobile and desktop version of their site. But having two separate sites requires a lot of maintenance and can cause major headaches for the people trying to keep them updated. Responsive sites only need to be updated once.
- Better SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) brings visitors to your site when they search for your products or services. According to Google, responsive sites perform better in search rankings because they provide the best user experience. Additionally, Google prefers the fact that responsive sites use a single URL, as opposed to different URLs for separate desktop and mobile versions.
- Competitive Advantage
Not everyone has a responsive website yet, so those that do have a competitive edge. The responsive model allows a company to reach its audience whenever it's convenient for the customer. For example, it's estimated that 75 percent of Americans look at their phones in the bathroom. While that might not be the most glamorous statistic, it does underline the importance of mobile-friendly design.
- Reduced Cost Over Time
While the upfront cost of a responsive website might seem high, the cost goes down significantly after the initial investment, compared to maintaining both a mobile and desktop site. Over time, it's a smart investment.
Ultimately, as a responsive website designer, my goal is to make sure that I don't make my experience normative. Every person is different, and every site needs to respond to the unique individuals viewing the site through various devices. So I anticipate, test and adjust my designs to work from as many perspectives as possible.
Learn more about CorComm Creative's website design services.