Responsive Design and Its Effect on Sales Conversions

With so many people using mobile devices to access websites, it's critical that your website is designed with mobile functionality in mind.

8

min. read

August 30, 2021

Five screens of a mobile app design UI mockup

Did you know that Over 230 million people in the US own smartphones? Globally that number increases to 1.2 billion! You’d be hard pressed to go to a coffee shop, store, restaurant (you name it) and not see at least half of the people on their smartphones. In fact, the average American spends 234 minutes per day on their phone. That’s an increase of 25% from five years ago. In this article, we're going to talk about the importance of responsive design.

People aren’t just scrolling through social media or reading the latest news headlines on their phone anymore. Many are using their mobile devices to purchase goods and services. In fact, 73% of the total ecommerce market share is from mobile phones. That’s three out of every four dollars being spent online. Now here’s a startling fact: 90% of mobile shoppers say their experience could have been better and 88% admitted to going to a competitor if their mobile experience was less than stellar. Does your site convert leads or are you missing out on that 73% of the market?

Your website design needs to provide a positive experience for your customers who are using mobile devices. It is no longer optional. It is a requirement. Your sales conversions and market share depend upon it.

You may have heard of the terms Mobile-Responsive and Mobile-Friendly. These terms are used to describe how website designs interact with various devices, such as tablets and smart phones, all of which have different sized screens. However, many make the mistake of thinking they are interchangeable, but they're not. So, a good place to start is by defining each.

Mobile Friendly

A mobile friendly website design is one that functions the same regardless of what size device someone is using. There is no actual change to the website design and functionality itself. It simply scales down the website to fit the screen. You’ve probably run across websites like this before. Many times, they load slow, require a lot of scrolling, have virtually impossible links to click with a finger and include hard to navigate menus. It can be frustrating, right?

Mobile Responsive

Mobile Responsive design is a way of designing a website so that the device being used to access the website determines how it is displayed. Rather than simply scaling the full desktop version, a responsive design changes, removes and adapts elements, content, and overall design to create the best user experience regardless of the screen size. In a sense, a mobile responsive site functions as a second website and often includes only the most important information you want your user to access. How is this done? Through HTML and CSS coding.  

All of this can be a bit confusing, so here are a few good examples of mobile friendly vs. mobile responsive websites.

Let's observe a quick navigation design example from our website:

Take note of the layout for the "Topic" links

With mobile-friendly design (left), everything is made smaller and narrower, making it harder to read and to tap. In a mobile-responsive design, the links are converted to an easy-to-tap dropdown menu, to allow for space saving.

The Effect of Responsive Design on Your Business

According to a study conducted by Exact Target, 37% of web users are more likely to buy from a company that has a mobile responsive website and as stated above, with nearly 90% of users more likely to shop with a competitor after a poor user experience, this obviously has a direct effect on your sale conversation rate.

With most website users using mobile phones, it is essential to give them the same great website experience on their smartphone as they would have on their desktop. It doesn’t matter how great your website design is if it loses its design and functionality on a smaller screen.

And to convince you even more that having a mobile responsive website is imperative, consider these statistics. It is estimated that $3.5 trillion (yes – trillion!) of ecommerce sales will come from mobile devices in 2021 and, according to study by Statista, mobile users spend twice as much on average as those not using smartphone devices. Today, a responsive website is an indispensable element of successful online marketing strategy.

Tips to Optimizing Your Website to Increase Conversion Rates

If you’re a bit overwhelmed by all this, you’re certainly not alone. Professional website designers are still optimizing mobile responsive design abilities and as smartphone technology continues to develop, responsive design will continue to evolve. It is important to design with mobile in mind. The way your website displays on a mobile screen should be given priority. So how do you do this?

Prioritize Content

Since mobile screens have limited space, your website will display vertically instead of horizontally. Therefore, it is important to make sure the content (i.e., a call to action) you want someone to see takes priority and displays first.

Shorten Content

Users do not want to scroll through endless content and tend to spend less time on a website than those on their desktop. Short and to the point will provide your users with a better experience. Don’t be afraid to cut pages from your mobile site. Include only the most important pages and give users the option to explore further on your desktop site. The ability to pick and choose pages to display is something only a responsive design can do.  

Simple Navigation

The ability to easily navigate a website on a mobile device is one of the biggest contributors to a positive or negative user experience. Complicated menus, small links, and redirects make it difficult and frustrating for users. You can even use a completely different menu structure on your mobile and keep a more traditional menu on your desktop site.

Optimize Buttons

Buttons are a great way to help users easily navigate your mobile site, because they are easier for someone to click with a finger than a traditional link. However, it is important to make sure the buttons are actually large enough to function and can easily be identified.

Consider Font Size and Use Web Safe Fonts

Have you ever visited a mobile website that requires the world’s greatest magnifying glass to read? Font size is an underestimated element of responsive design. Highly stylized fonts tend to be difficult to read on smaller screens and take longer to load. Just because you use a particular font on your desktop doesn’t mean you should use the same font on your mobile website.

Optimize Your Images

Images enhance the visual appeal of your website and are often necessary. However, it is important to properly crop and size your photos so that they load fast and display appropriately on a mobile phone. Remember, mobile networks do not have the same capabilities as wireless internet access and users tend to click off websites that don’t load within a few seconds. You may even want to consider using video, as it not only keeps users engagement, but it also displays your visual elements without requiring the user to scroll down.

Make CTA’s and Buttons Easy

A Call To Action (CTA) is content that is designed to induce a consumer to perform a specific act. It’s the “buy now,” “call now” shout out. Truly responsive designs are created with the intension of highlighting a Call to Action and giving it priority over other content on a mobile site, regardless of where it lives on a desktop site. By it’s very nature, a mobile-friendly site would not take into consideration a hierarchy of importance when it comes to content.  

Buttons are also an important elements of mobile-responsive design and are much easier for a consumer to use when navigating a site. Smaller hyperlinks and drop down menus, while effective on desktop websites, lose their functionality on a smaller screen. But not all buttons are created equal. The design of each button must also be taken into consideration and what works on one screen may not work on another. Buttons that are highly stylized, small or unclear as to their function can contribute to a poor user experience. A mobile-responsive website is coded to recognize each screen and adjust the buttons accordingly.

Make it Easy to Complete E-Commerce Purchases

We would be remiss in not mentioning the importance of making it easy for consumers to complete the purchase of goods and services on a mobile device as well. With so many people using using mobile devices to make purchases, it’s important to make it easy for users to complete the transaction. Incorporating digital payment options and autofill capabilities minimizes the work users must do, making it more likely they will purchase from your website.

Creating a Responsive Website

Now that we’ve covered why mobile responsive design is so important and what design elements need to be considered, you may be wondering how this all works. There are many platforms available, such as Shopify, Squarespace and Wix, which are designed to make it easier for beginners to create websites. Many assume that sites designed on such platforms have mobile-responsive capabilities. However, these sites provide only mobile-friendly websites not mobile-responsive sites, and offer little customization, if at all.

Traditionally, true mobile optimization takes a lot of coding behind the scenes to fit different sized screens. We build websites in Webflow, because it enables us to customize mobile responsive layouts for each individual device view, (desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile landscape, mobile portrait). We can create amazing website experiences for your users. While very powerful, Webflow is more technical and has a bit of a learning curve.

These days, mobile website design will be ever changing as technological advancements in smartphone and tablets come about so it is important to constantly ask yourself “what is the user trying to do when on our mobile site and how can we make the process easier?” If you’re unsure or need more help, don’t worry. We have you covered.

Let's make your website more responsive

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