Responsive Web Design - A Must-Have for True Accessibility

Investing in a responsive site now pays off in the long run

Posted on November 17, 2015 in Website Development

Responsive Web Design

In 2014, Internet usage on mobile devices exceeded PC usage for the first time in history, symbolizing the inevitable change in landscape of how businesses are reaching their target audiences and vice versa.

Responsive web design is no longer futuristic or trendy. It is happening right now. In fact, this year Skillcrush reported that 40% of people will choose a different search result if the first is not mobile friendly. Among the legal community, only 24% of Am Law 200 firms reported being responsive as of July 2015. If you aren’t one of them, your clients are noticing…and probably frustrated. Here’s why:

Responsive designs detect the device being used and adjust accordingly. This means no more pinching, stretching, side-scrolling or double-tapping. Whether your site is being viewed on a smartphone, tablet, laptop, PC or jumbo monitor, your site will adjust to optimize the visitor experience (and minimize frustration).

So what does this look like? In some cases, this could be fluid adjustment in sizing or spacing. In other cases, the structure of the site, menu bar and links will change to create a more user-friendly experience for visitors navigating the site.

Because the site adjusts to the device, designing your site to be responsive alleviates the need to build and maintain separate desktop and mobile sites. From a business standpoint, this is a pretty simple one to grasp. With only one site to design and maintain, this saves you both time and money. From the user experience, this ensures brand consistency across platforms.

Why is brand consistency important? Achieving consistency in your brand helps build recognition. Brand recognition leads to developing trust and loyalty with your clients. Trust and loyalty – well, isn’t that the foundation to the long-term success of your firm? There are several factors that affect brand consistency. Being purposeful and intentional through responsive web design is just one factor that can help manage perceptions and achieve this.

Finally, responsive web design addresses Google’s new mobile site optimization requirement for search engine rankings. In May of 2015, Google stated that, “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan. This presents a tremendous opportunity for marketers to reach people throughout all the new touchpoints of a consumer’s path to purchase.” Google continues to be the most popular search engine, responsible for billions of searches across the globe each day. Responsive design helps maximize your SEO. In its Search Ranking Factors 2015 study, Searchmetrics reports a clear, positive effect on rankings and notes an increase in the number of mobile friendly sites amongst the top 30 search results.

Investing in a responsive site now will pay off in the long run. Whether your site is ready for its next overhaul or needs a less invasive retrofit, pursuing a responsive design is a must-have for true accessibility.