Setting up an e-commerce site can be of significant benefit to businesses but there is one major drawback: usability. Producing a functional website capable of offering a consistent user experience across various mediums is a priority for 2013 with responsive web designs expected to lead the venture – but just what are its benefits?
The crowning achievement of responsive web design is its ability to adapt its layout in response to the device being used to access the site – hence the name. PC sales are expected to be lower than ever before in 2013 with smartphones and tablets topping the charts once more – tablet sales alone are predicted to exceed 100 million. Failing to consider how a website will look when viewed on these devices will therefore put you at an immediate disadvantage so for web designers, both professional and amateur, there has never been a better time to focus on this area of web design.
When producing a website which is intended for use on a mobile or other portable device you will be presented with options over hosting. You can host a separate sub-domain (m.xx.com) or have the same URL for both your desktop and mobile site with the latter the better option.
The advantage of having a single URL is that continuity is maintained across the site and will improve the ability to share data or content. It also ensures that users are given a consistent level of service no matter how they choose to access your website; something which can be especially beneficial in the world of e-commerce. Marketers have long known the importance of continuity in ecommerce and this is a major reason for the use of personalised HTML emails, such as those provided by 123 Reg. Functionality should be heavily tested to ensure it is still operates smoothly when accessed on mobile phones and is especially important when it comes to the online purchase systems used on e-commerce sites.
With responsive web design, agent detection is used in browsers to identify what device is being used to access the webpage. This information is then used to load the correct rendering of the page for each device.
This can improve your SEO ranking in the sense that it generates link empowerment for your main page. As there is no separate sub-domain, users are not redirected between pages and that means link equity is not diluted.
Is Responsive Wed Design Relevant to you?
Before opting for responsive web design, users need to determine whether they need it or not. To do this, use a service like Google Analytics to find out how much traffic is coming from mobile devices – a figure which you can convert into a percentage of the total number of visitors you receive. Whilst this will vary from business to business, figures for the industry as a whole give a good indication of what you can expect. In 2012, mobiles were reported to account for one fifth of web traffic in the USA while popular websites such as The Guardian claimed as much as 35% of their traffic came from portable devices.
This is a guest article written by Lorraine Perry, an avid technology fan Lorraine love keeping up to date with all the latest web trends.