Here's why: The world is becoming more mobile and will likely stay that way. About 130 million Americans own a smartphone, and tablet sales have increased by an astounding 142.4 percent in just the last year. WiFi is becoming more readily available, and people can work from just about anywhere. Access to the Web in the most efficient way is no longer a luxury—it truly is a necessity.
Many times, you have to scroll through a site on your phone or tablet that is designed for a larger screen. However, responsive Web design uses media queries to recognize your device and then fits the site to your screen, almost like plastic wrap. No more horizontal scrolling. More efficiency can mean a better experience for the user—and a happier user may translate into a paying customer.
But there are a few things you need to know when sifting through the dozens of firms that create a responsive site. Before you hire a design firm, do your responsive research. First, fully understand media queries, layout and navigation so everyone sitting around the table speaks the same language. Media queries are the backbone of creating a responsive site. Layout and navigation features will determine how easily it works and, consequently, how successful it will become.
After you have a good foundational knowledge of responsive Web design and have selected potential firms to design yours, it's time to take action.
- Craft your content strategy. Decide what your audience needs to know on each device. The smartest way to prioritize devices is by size—smartphone, tablet, laptop, then desktop (or the other way around).
- Set your budget. Responsive sites do cost more than traditional sites because of the work required to create them. However, the reach and impact a responsive site can have on customers often pays for itself. Do your due diligence when setting a budget that accounts for the added cost and the potential ROI.
- Understand and communicate your design aesthetic to the firm you hire. If you’re simply updating your site, but your branding and logo will remain the same, how do you want that look to translate? If you’re rebranding your company as well, you have much more freedom with regards to the look and feel of your site.
- Inspect the firm’s work. Talk with their other clients about their communication style, responsiveness and design team. For instance, will they outsource it or handle that work in-house?
- Confirm your integration strategy. Ensure whatever tools you want to integrate (sales, marketing automation, etc.) will flow seamlessly into the new site.
The world is becoming more mobile, and responsive Web design is here to stay. Businesses that capitalize on this shift and update their websites can position themselves as leaders, potentially commanding a higher market share. Businesses that maintain traditional sites could be left behind.
Hassan Bawab, founder and CEO of Magic Logix digital marketing agency, is a leader in cutting-edge technology and innovative speaker/writer. He is a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs.
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