The Responsive Marketplace

No market sector will be left unaffected

With research showing that people are increasingly using their Smartphone and Tablet to access the internet then it is not too difficult to envisage that within the next couple of years if not sooner, that they will be the predominant online viewing devices leaving PC's trailing in their wake! Hewlett Packard, one of the worlds best known PC manufacturers recently announced further job losses... Sky News commented "The firm is under pressure amid a global decline in PC sales amid growing demand for laptops and greater tablet use". (Dec 2013)

However it is the phenominal growth in the use of the Smartphone that has heralded an evolution of the online world, a world we all thought we knew and felt very comfortable with. To many people it will of course still appear to be the same but for businesses the changes could be quite damaging unless the issue is addressed.

The Collins English Dictionary states that the word "Responsive" means...
'Reacting or replying quickly or favourably, as to a suggestion, initiative, etc'

In the online world this quite simply means that a website must react quickly to the type of device the user is viewing its pages on and when that device is a Smartphone then the pages are very often difficult to read if they're not responsive. This should be of major concern to a business as the failure of their website to respond means the user will find even the simplest of transactions, such as the ordering of goods and services, much more difficult and so the user will vote with their finger and go elsewhere !

Take for instance the fact that many consumers who you want to turn into customers will begin that journey at work sneaking a look at your website on their desktop computer. They break for lunch and continue where they left off by going straight to your URL on their Smartphone whilst sharing your URL with their friends. Finally having made up their mind they relax on the sofa in the evening and type in your URL on their tablet to place the order.

However of growing concern for businesses, irrespective of size or stature, is that having a responsive website is going to be an important factor in search engine rankings. Google have already admitted that their algorithms specifically look for responsive websites as they provide the user with a superior online experience, such as that just described, which is a very important factor these days.

Businesses could therefore find themselves slipping down the ranking pages if they don’t look closely at this issue.

Some reasons why your business should have a responsive online presence...

Competitiveness
Responsive web site design is still very much in it's embryonic stages and so embracing these changes at an early stage can give you an online competitive edge over your competitors who may still be "thinking" about the issues. Your customers will benefit from a superior online experience, be more inclined to do business with you and are far more likely to share those experiences with their friends across social media platforms which can only be good for the growth of your business!

Consistency
As we have identified, the inferior user experience when trying to read unresponsive website pages is a major issue as more and more people use their Smartphones to research and carry out transactions. One of the major advantages of a responsive website is the consistency of design and transaction capability where all the colours, fonts, buttons and funcionality of the experience is identical irrespective of the device... quite simply because you only build one structure !

Economic
There are many situations where a separate App should be built and marketed separately and this can apply across all sectors. However for those businesses where there is little commercial advantage in having a mobile app then a responsive website offers considerable savings. This is because only having to build one structure instead of two is naturally going to reduce the costs associated with addressing this issue and when changes to the structure are required then it will only involve one upgrade rather than two offering longer term savings as well.

Flexibility
Of course the world of technology keeps changing and with new devices comes potentially different screen sizes which is of course at the heart of the evolutionary changes we've been talking about. This is why a responsive website design is good news for businesses because it adapts to whatever shape or size that is ever likely to become popular without the need to constantly have to upgrade your website every time this happens.

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Please don't take our word for the fact that businesses should address the issue of responsive websites.

Google states "With increasing smartphone usage, making a website that is friendly to smartphone users has now become a critical part of website management" !

Google very much encourage website developers to embrace responsive website design for their clients.

This is an extract taken from the Google Developers website

"Responsive design: serves the same HTML for one URL and uses CSS media queries to determine how the content is rendered on the client side. This removes the possible glitches of user-agent detection and frees users from redirects. This is Google's recommended configuration."