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Today, websites are being consumed on a variety of devices, not just the traditional desktop computer of yesterday. Now, users are visiting websites from their phone, tablet, tv, games console, as well as their laptop and desktop computers. We need to adapt to the change in size and variety of devices that are on the market, and being released every month. To handle all these devices, the latest technique of Responsive Web Design (RWD) is being employed more and more, especially over the traditional method of creating a separate desktop site and mobile site. Google has announced that it prefers to see sites work responsively as there is only one single page for all content. The process of responsive web design works by making the website expand and contract, based on the width of the browser in question. Take this site for example, you can make your browser window smaller and you will see the elements on the page reposition themselves to adapt to the different size. This works on all devices including iPhone, Android, iPad, small laptop screens, and large desktop screens. There is still a case for having dedicated mobile websites, with limited content for particular users. Depending on a clients particular requirements, this may be a solution worth implementing and we have found that this can only be determined on a case by case basis.

  • SEO - As mentioned, Google has gone out and said that they prefer sites that are responsive (as opposed to having a separate mobile site for the same content), as there is only one address for them to serve the content for to the user. You also have more of a chance of your content being served to users searching on mobile devices, compared to non-optimised sites.
  • Cost - To maintain separate device specific websites (e.g. for iPhone, iPad, Desktop) would be more costly than maintaining one single website that's layout adapts automatically to the device in question.
  • Users - With a well designed reponsive website, your users will be happier to use your website and return again and again, on their alternative devices. If a user can't use your site efficiently, as it is not set up to work on their device, it's unlikely they will keep returning.
  • Competition - As RWD is in it's early adoption stage, getting a leg up on the competition could gain you extra customers and sales. Your new responsive site could appear ahead of your competitors in Google searches, and nobody will turn that down.

According to Research, with over 2.6 million smart phone users and 750k tablet users, websites are being consumed away from the traditional computer more and more. It is more essential now, more than ever, that website owners respond to this trend and ensure their website is capable of displaying properly for each device. Google has also indicated that it will serve different results to users searching on mobile devices, and you should earn extra points if your content is ready to be served to these mobile devices. Also, users are consuming websites in a different way now. Not all mobile users are "out and about", and looking for information. Research has shown that they are actually replacing laptops/desktops by browsing on their iPhone/iPad while in front of the tv, on the bus, in the office, etc. There are some industries that will adapt to Responsive Web Design much quicker than others but eventually all websites will have a responsive design, as it will simply not be possible to ignore this trend. The faster adapting websites include restaurants, pubs, hotels, news and media, events, clubs, property, car dealers, etc. This list is not limited and will continue to grow.

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