When visitors go to your website, more than likely they are viewing it on a 1024 pixel wide screen, making a standard design easy to create and versatile across the majority of platforms.
Wait… it isn’t 2006 anymore.
Ever since the introduction of the iPhone in June of 2007 and the widespread use of smartphones in every day life, people view webpages on smaller screens than ever before. Whether it’s an iPhone 6+, the newest Galaxy, or a tablet, people are more frequently grabbing the handheld device to look up information as opposed to logging onto a desktop to Google their questions. This convenience makes having a responsive website more critical. When displaying the normal desktop view of a site, text is small, pictures overpower the page and the navigation is impossible to click. When this information isn’t clear and readily available across all platforms, potential customers bounce. Which means less sales for you, and more for your competitor with a site that looks good on the newest smartphone.
While handheld devices have made small screens more popular, the inverse is also true. With screens becoming more affordable, larger screens are making the default 1024 pixel monitor a thing of the past. 61.9% of all display screens have a screen resolution of 1280 pixels or higher, from the everyday laptops like my own Macbook Air, to large flat screen TVs in schools and living rooms. Average computers are no longer average, and websites must conform to all screen sizes.
As if the aesthetics of your website wasn’t bad enough, if your site is lacking in the looks department it is going to take a nosedive in the algorithm department as well. Since the unveiling of Google’s “Mobile Friendly Test” tool on April 21st 2015, their SEO rankings have begun rewarding sites that are clear and easy to navigate on all screens, while punishing those that are stuck in the mid 2000’s. Neglecting to keep up with the recommendation of the most visited website in the world can take a hit to who can find you no matter how great your content or product may be.
Back in 2006, absolute values and positioning ensured the same layout on every page. A decade later rigid yet flexible grid systems allow boxes of information to expand and restrict to any screen. Percentages and media queries reign supreme. With over 1 billion websites on the internet, any advantage possible to produce clear, precise content on the front page of Google is needed, and responsive design is the new way to get there.