August 11, 2015 andrea

Define “Responsive”

If you have been keeping up with website design at all for the last year, you know a major buzzword is “responsive”. Example: You need a “responsive” website. But you may still be confused on what exactly that is. No worries, we’ll explain it all in this blog post.

Dictionary Definition: [adj] acting in response. (not the most helpful)

Our Definition: In the context of websites, responsive means that your website actually changes its layout based on the screen size it is being viewed on. (laptop, tablet, phone, etc.)

“Why do I need a responsive website?”
A couple reasons. First, Google cares about responsive websites and ranks them higher on its mobile search engine. Second, better user experience. You can understand this. You have gone to a site on your phone and had to zoom around and try to click microscopic links to find the information you need and it was probably very frustrating. When a site is responsive, the links and content change to fit the screen size and give a much better user experience.

“I have a desktop version of my website, but I also have a mobile version. Does that make my website ‘responsive’?”
In short, no. Having a mobile version of your website does not mean your website is responsive. However, as far as Google’s search results are concerned, a mobile version is a-ok.

“So if Google doesn’t care whether I have a mobile version or a responsive site, why should I?”
Good question. They may not care, but you probably should. A responsive site means much easier maintenance and updating, because you only have one website to work on (instead of 2 separate versions.)

“Where does the word ‘mobile-friendly’ fit in with all of this?”
The word ‘mobile-friendly’ gets thrown around a lot with the word ‘responsive’. The best way to answer this question is with an old school venn diagram.

responsive versus mobile friendly venn diagram

So basically, a responsive site is mobile-friendly.
And a mobile version is mobile-friendly.
But a mobile version is not a responsive site.

Have any questions about this or need us to define a certain word? Send us a message via our contact form below and we’ll answer ASAP.

Tagged: ,

Web Design With A Purpose

Contact us today so we can help you find a solution for any of your technology needs.