According to Pew Research Center, “57% of American adults use their cell phone to go online. And 21% of cell phone owners say they mostly access the internet using their phone.”

The types of devices people use to gain access to the internet continue to diversify in size and design. Consequently, websites designed to be viewed on desktop PCs are no longer adequate to serve all users properly. Viewing a standard website on a cellphone requires zooming, scrolling and panning around to find all of the content, and even then much of the information may never be seen. If the website is difficult to navigate, mobile users may become frustrated and go to another site.

Responsive Websites Serve Many Devices

Until recently, companies only had to create one website for desktops and another for mobile devices. Creating and maintaining separate websites for the same purpose is significantly more expensive than a single site would be. There are also challenges in keeping them both updated to deliver the same information.

Enter Responsive Web Design

The term was coined by Ethan Marcotte in 2010 as a method whereby a single website will work well across different devices and screen sizes. When viewed on a small screen, the site will automatically resize, and layout will adjust to make all the content viewable at a reasonable resolution.

Responsive websites load quickly, and no content is left out. Regardless of which device is used, the content, headlines, drop-down menus, buttons and calls to action are always displayed and easy to use. Email can also be responsively designed so they are easy to read on all screens, and are more likely to be read before being deleted. Since responsive websites have only one URL, their content is easier for users to share and businesses to manage.

Having a responsive website saves the time and money involved in duplicating content to fit different devices. The possibility of conflicting information is eliminated since updates and redesigns only need to be done in one place.

Responsive design also helps with a website’s SEO efforts. Having one URL makes it easier for Google’s search algorithms to index. With dual websites, it takes longer to search through all the content. One set of content makes it easier for the search crawlers to process it and decide what to serve.

In the short time that responsive web design has been available, more and more businesses have chosen to adopt the format. The rise of mobile devices is undeniable, and responsive may well become the design standard in the near future.