Responsive Website Design: Is Being Mobile-Friendly Enough?

by | Branding, Responsive Web Design, Websites

Today I left a phone message for a local business owner/potential customer who has a website that was designed a number of years back.

The website has ‘good bones’ – it is just a bit dated and is not responsive/mobile-friendly for a good viewing experience on mobile devices.

Sure one can ‘pinch and zoom’ to read the text and view the images, but with recent changes to Google’s algorithm, that make mobile optimization an SEO ranking factor, this isn’t really good enough.

Going through the site it was easy to see that when the site was originally created a fair amount of thought went into the content and layout. But today, what was once cutting edge is now dated and awkward to view on mobile devices.

The variety of mobile devices and screen sizes available, and the growing numbers of people relying on these smaller devices for much of their online activity, make having a website that is responsive (Google’s recommendation) and mobile-friendly important.

Statistics On Smart Phone Usage In 2015

U.S. statistics from Pew Research on smart phone usage in 2015 help to highlight the importance of having a business website that consumers can easily read and navigate on their mobile devices (responsive/mobile-friendly):

  • 62% of smartphone owners have used their phone in the past year to look up information about a health condition.
  • 57% have used their phone to do online banking.
  • 44% have used their phone to look up real estate listings or other information about a place to live.
  • 43% to look up information about a job.
  • 40% to look up government services or information.
  • 30% to take a class or get educational content.
  • 18% to submit a job application.

Responsive Design & WordPress

Of course having a responsive and mobile-friendly site alone is not enough! The design of the site (the layout, branding, graphics/images, functionality) and written content of the site itself (obviously) determine whether it delivers a good customer experience or not.

In the case of the potential customer I called today, her site is built on a WordPress platform. So, although there is work involved in making the site responsive and updating the site’s look and feel, the changes can be made for a fraction of the cost of building a new site.

‘The bones’ of the website are in place – the branding, good written content, professional quality images – for this business and the job is fairly straightforward. But the difference the changes would make to the look and feel of their website – and thus the customer experience – whether viewed on a desktop, laptop or mobile device, would be quite profound.

For some businesses the work may be more in-depth than for this business – it depends on ‘the bones’ of the site and the platform it is built on.

Responsive Design & Cold Calling

Back to the potential customer I called today.

To be honest, I didn’t expect to hear back from her. Anyone with an email address and a website is familiar with the large number of solicitation emails one receives (mostly spam) with promises of this, that and the other. Usually, those contacting us have no knowledge of our business and they are just one of a thousand similar emails that have gone out to tens of thousands of others.

So, it was with some reluctance that I made the call and left the message today. (I’ve always cared way too much what people think!)

I didn’t want my message to be construed as spam or telephone solicitation. Sure, I was hopeful that it might turn into business but I wasn’t holding my breath.

What a nice surprise then to receive a call from the owner and have an opportunity to chat with her about her site. She was gracious, she listened, she shared and she gave me permission to provide her with some information that I trust will be helpful to her. Whether the call results in new business or not is yet to be seen.