Time to Call It. Responsive Website Design is the Winner.

Responsive Design Wins

The debate has been going back and forth for a couple of years now. Google shook things up when they announced that website types would have an influence on search rankings. Since then, technology companies have been pushing their various types of website design philosophies that would match what Google wanted. Over two years later, it’s safe to say that responsive is the right way to go.

Responsive Design Wins

Some will dismiss responsive as being too hyped-up or the flavor of the month, but there are factors that have lead us to believe that responsive is better for now and the foreseeable future. It’s not just because this website is built on a responsive platform, either. We weren’t always that way, but we went in this direction based upon the data. That data can, however, be boring, so we’re going to focus on the common sense attributes that makes responsive the clear winner.


News and so much more

One of the common arguments against responsive websites, particularly when it comes to business, is a flawed attempt to point out that responsive works well for publications. It’s true that most major news agencies and blogs have gone with responsive website design because of the easy way it works with all devices, but that’s not a valid argument against non-news sites using responsive. They would say, “It’s great for a blog but not for business.”

That’s like saying that a 4×4 truck is good for driving through the mud but it’s not good at driving on sand. Whether on sand or on mud, a 4×4 truck is still going to perform better than a 4×2 truck or car. Then, the argument might be that it’s not good for driving on paved roads, and that argument is valid. However, the “paved roads of the internet,” namely the desktop experience, is no longer the only way to do it. In fact, it’s not even the most common method of “driving” on the internet for many types of websites. Having websites that perform well regardless of the platform is paramount.


All of the content everywhere

The biggest takeaways from Google when they started discussing mobile is that they wanted the content to match regardless of the device. Most mobile sites do not have the same content on them that is present on the desktop variation of the pages.

With responsive websites, nearly all of the content is the same regardless of the device. The “nearly” part is that some parts of the mobile variation may be excluded from the desktop view such as “Click to Call” buttons, while some of the extraneous content on the desktop version can be excluded for the sake of speed (discussed below). All of the important content, however, is available on both mobile and desktop versions.

Google wants a unified experience delivered in their search results regardless of the device through which the person is searching. If a page is available on desktop but disappears on mobile, Google does not want to offer those types of results. With responsive websites, the content is uniform, giving Google and their users (the searchers) the same basic experience regardless of the device.


The speed issue

This was a widespread problem a couple of years ago and is still a problem for some website providers today. Companies like Adobe and automotive website provider DealerOn have overcome most of the issues associated with building responsive websites that offer robust experiences across devices without hampering the speed. This can be done using several techniques that are not important in detail, but it’s important for those intending to build a company website on a responsive platform to test examples of their websites on all platforms and through multiple internet connections.

Most WiFi networks work fine with responsive sites, but once on a 3G or 4G mobile connection, they take time to load. This is a big problem with both user experience as well as organic search rankings as Google takes load times into account when determining where a website should rank in its searches.

Arguments can be made about other platforms, but when all of the data is examined and all of the opinions are tabulated, responsive comes out as the clear choice.

By Michio Hasai

+Michio Hasai is a social strategist and car guy. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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