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Digital Insights

Why Responsive Design Isn’t Enough

Why responsive design isn’t enough

The importance of optimising for mobile search cannot be overstated. The majority of Google searches are now conducted using a tablet or smartphone and approximately 70% of mobile searchers are more likely to purchase from a business with a mobile website which addresses their needs. Additionally, the roll out of mobile-first indexing means that optimising your digital presence for mobile has never been more important.

Speed is arguably the most significant ranking factor for mobile design, However, it’s believed that more than 50% of mobile pages take more than 7 seconds to load. There are several commonly seen mobile site errors including:

– failed redirects
– obtrusive interstitials
– awkward search functions

Addressing these issues often requires investment in a responsive content management system (CMS) and the selection of the correct configuration for your unique mobile site. Responsive web design (RWD) has been the most popular configuration for some time, but as the mobile space becomes increasingly competitive, is it time for a bit of innovation?

The pitfalls of standalone mobile sites

The creation of a standalone mobile site is positive for your end-users, but from a search engine optimisation (SEO) perspective, it diminishes your site equity. Additionally, mobile domains are costly investments which often also require large maintenance budgets.

A deep-dive into responsive web design

RWD was never designed with speed in mind. While it has many benefits, including its proficient handling of on-page layouts across different devices and its ability to retain all content on a single URL, as it was ultimately created to optimise websites for mobile search without requiring a large monetary investment, RWD far from perfect.

Although often a smart choice for small businesses, with slow loading speeds and the need to optimise data visualisations for small screens, larger businesses are finding value in higher-speed configurations like progressive web applications (PWAs).

Address page speed with AMPs

AMPs are Google’s attempt to speed up the Internet. Operating in the same way as content delivery networks, AMPs serve stripped-back versions of webpages and their increased page speed makes them ideal for publishers serving blog posts and news content.

The drawbacks? As AMPs are loaded using Google’s cache, clicks are exceptionally difficult to track because they technically never occur on the website itself. This, naturally, significantly impacts engagement and has ultimately limited the value and the adoption of AMPs.

The potential of PWAs

PWAs are essentially apps that don’t need to be downloaded. This technology has many advantages including:

– efficient transitions between navigation and web pages
– providing universal access across browsers and devices
– the ability to work offline

Often used by e-commerce businesses to provide improved end-user experiences and speedy checkout times, PWAs can increase engagement and conversions. They too have disadvantages however, as they are difficult and costly to implement well.

So, which configuration comes out on top?

As each option has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, opting for a combination will ultimately give you the best of both worlds. Responsive web design is often an excellent first step, but it arguably isn’t enough for businesses operating within incredibly competitive marketplaces. Whichever configuration you ultimately select however, making the leap into mobile design is undoubtedly one of the best steps you can currently take for your business.

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