These days everyone seems to be relying on their smartphones and tablets, probably more often than a regular laptop or desktop computer. Because of this shift in technology use, it should come as no surprise that there has been a shift in web design as well.

Look at social media companies like Facebook or Twitter: yes, they have their own apps, but let’s pretend for a second that they didn’t. If people tried to use Facebook on their phones and it looked like it does on a regular desktop screen, the majority of people would probably stop using Facebook on their mobile phones. It’s because Facebook looks so clean and is easy to use on mobile devices that people continue to update status’ and poke their friends from their cell phones.

Many other companies, blogs, and websites have caught on to this shift as well, and to make web browsing on phones and tablets easier they utilize something called responsive website design.

So what exactly is responsive website design?

It’s a way of creating a website that automatically adjusts and fits any device. You can design a website for a desktop, without the worry of having to make a new one for tablet or smartphone. With responsive design, the structure of the site with retracts to fit automatically.

There was an article published in the Huffington Post entitled, “How Important Is Response Design?”, and according to the article and today’s statistics, well…very.

We live in a world where a pretty decent size portion of those browsing the Internet is doing it on their phones. Smart Insights did a study that concluded 25 percent of Internet users in the U.S. access the Internet solely via a mobile device. That’s a quarter of all Internet users across the country.

Google Loves Responsive Websites

If statistics like that aren’t enough to make a company think “mobile-first”, maybe the recommendation from Google will be. Google has said it favors responsive web design as the recommended configuration for multiple reasons.

One, it makes Googles job of indexing and organizing the content of the site much easier. With responsive design, the site with has one URL across all platforms as opposed to one for desktop, one for a tablet, and one for mobile. When a company has a different URL and different HTML for each separate site, Google has to index multiple versions of the same exact thing.

Two, having one responsive site makes interaction and sharing easier for the users. Google supports this idea simply because it helps to eliminate unhappy users. If a viewer on their desktop clicks on a link shared from a mobile site, it would probably look less than appealing to the user, and might not even work properly.

Having this separation also affects Google’s rank of your site’s searches and your site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

With all that in mind, it’s no wonder so many companies today are utilizing responsive website designs. With the quickly ever-changing technology of today, it’s important to stay informed on new concepts like this. It’s better the user and better for the company.