In this guest post Kevin Triggle from ojo solutions discusses the importance of responsive website design in the modern age and how to make it work for your charity. Kevin has over 10 years’ experience in design and has worked with a variety of clients worldwide.
How many visitors to your charity website are doing so on a smartphone or tablet? It’s an important figure to know as current statistics indicate that over 50% of all web browsing traffic worldwide is carried out on mobile devices. It’s very unlikely your own website statistics will be any different and this is a huge number which simply can’t be ignored. Mobile and tablet users have high expectations, and when viewing your website don’t want to be treated any differently to their larger-screened peers.
Responsive design is a modern way of dealing with design when faced with the growing number of new web enabled devices on the market. Gone are the days of trying to detect a device and displaying a tailored page designed specifically for it. The number of new devices of varying shapes and sizes simply make this an impractical technique in the modern age. Responsive design allows you to cater for your entire audience and be confident in the way your design will appear to them.
Your website is usually the first impression of your charity to the outside world and if neglected can have incredibly negative effects. I’ve listed five reasons below explaining why you should make sure your mobile audience is looked after!
1. Responsive design is recommended by Google
Nicknamed ‘Mobile-Geddon’, as of 21.04.2015 Google now specifically favours pages and sites which it can see are mobile friendly. There are many ways that Google goes about deciding if you’ve thought about your mobile viewers and getting this right is key to your success! They even provide this handy tool which you can use to test your own site. For most people, Responsive design is the obvious method to utilise. It’s simple for Google to detect, simple for webmasters to implement and is by far the most recommended option available due to its flexibility in catering for the unknown.
There’s only one name that really matters when making sure your charity’s website is easily found online……Google! What they say really matters, and making your design work for your mobile audience is no longer something which can be put off until next year.
2. One website for all devices
When I first embarked on my web development journey many years ago, the preferred method of dealing with mobile users was to attempt to detect the type of device and based on the outcome, send the user to a completely separate design or even sub-site specifically for them. This was often a vastly simplified version of the main site and users were left feeling like second class citizens.
This method had its uses for a while, but relied heavily on devices correctly identifying themselves to the outside world. As soon as a few well known global brands stopped doing this reliably, the whole system fell apart, so developers had to look for a new solution.
Responsive design stepped in and is the best way of creating a cross-device design which is consistent no matter what it’s viewed on.
3. Easier to manage
Responsive design ensures you only have one set of code to manage, update and maintain. Creating a consistent design is hard enough without having multiple device-specific versions floating around!
The main bugbear with mobile specific sites was that it meant rolling out design updates to more than one set of code multiplying the possibility of errors appearing. Resources are always scarce when developing your charities website so make sure you keep it as simple as possible!
4. It can be retrospectively added
There’s really no excuse to not get your existing website up to scratch for your mobile visitors. Responsive techniques can be quickly applied to an existing design, and will turn your site from a static dinosaur into a flexible and dynamic site you can be proud of and more importantly, your visitors will enjoy using.
5. Show your visitors you care
No one likes to feel like they’re getting anything but the best customer service or online experience. Websites which look bad, are hard to view or navigate on small screens say only one thing to the user. “we don’t care enough about you and your requirements to do something about it”.
Whether web developers like it or not, smaller and smaller devices are here to stay. Smartphones and tablets have fast become the go-to gadgets when looking for information online and ignoring the needs of this valuable demographic is business suicide.
Creating a website design which is consistent should no longer be a scary thing. Tools and techniques are readily available to ensure that no matter what device a visitor chooses to use, your charity website looks fantastic and doesn’t need to scrimp on content to do so.
Contact ojo solutions today for a free website audit or to speak to us about responsive design.
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