Responsive Design

HomeGlossaryResponsive Design

A responsive web design is a fluid layout that allows a company’s online content to be displayed on devices with varying screen sizes. This is becoming more important as smartphone and tablet owners drive a growing share of search traffic.

With responsive website design (RWD), site content is adjusted by moving and shrinking components to fit within the constraints of desktop, tablet and smartphone screens. RWD sites use the same URL and HTML across platforms, only altering the way content is displayed with cascading style sheets (CSS).

This provides an alternative to the other two solutions: creating separate sites for desktop and mobile devices on different URLs, or using dynamic designs (the same URLs, different HTML and CSS for mobile and desktop devices).

You can recognize a responsive website by shrinking the window on a desktop browser. Do the images and text boxes shrink, and then rearrange at certain ‘break points’ (when the window is about the size and shape of a tablet or smartphone screen)? Note that this is different than fluid layouts that shrink all items proportionally as the window gets smaller or adaptive layouts that change content displays on at breakpoints.

Check out this site for an example of a great RWD. 

RWD for SEO

Responsive web designs are often seen as the superior solution to smartphone browsers. They are simpler solutions than creating additional domains for mobile technology and they present SEO benefits.

Because search crawlers don’t have to account for desktop, mobile and tablet URLs separately, they can discover website content more efficiently. Theoretically, this would allow Googlebots to index and cache more pages on a single site.

Additionally, RWD sites Flow SEO value to their mobile versions. So, a company doesn’t have to build a new backlink profile, create an archive of high-quality content and establish history to prove the online content is credible and relevant to gain domain authority for better search results. Not to mention that poor SEO can make a brand invisible in mobile queries, where the majority of real estate is dominated by paid ad campaigns. Sites with RWD have an advantage over other domains that are building PageRank and domain authority from scratch.

RWD for UX

RWD pages also seen as offering users better on-site experiences. Internet visitors won’t be redirected to other pages, which reduces load time, and they won’t see a page that’s drastically different than the one they’re used to seeing and navigating on desktops.