The ability of a website to adapt to the needs of a visitor, depending on what kind of device they are using to visit the website, is referred to as responsive content. It can also include differences between websites depending on the location of the user, as well as how often they have visited the website in the past. In addition to being more user-friendly, a responsive design is also something search engines look at when ranking websites.
The most common type of responsive content involves displaying a website differently depending on the device that is being used to access the content. The same website would appear differently on a desktop computer than it would on a mobile device, like a cell phone or a tablet.
On a desktop, larger chunks of text can be displayed, since the screen is large. Entire menus can be positioned at the top of the page for easy navigation, and images are placeable on any part of the website.
The same website, when displayed on a mobile device, would appear more condensed. Mobile versions prioritize smaller chunks of text over larger chunks of text, and displays are simplified. For example, instead of showing the entire navigation bar horizontally on the site, a drop down menu would allow a user to access any page they like using a vertical navigation system, which is much easier for mobile users.
Responsive content can also include other methods of creating targeted content. For example, a website may include different information depending on where the user lives. An international company may list US dollars instead of Euros on its product pages.
Content can also be modified depending on whether or not the user has visited the website in the past. For example, someone visiting the website for the first time may not get any recommendations, but someone returning to the site may see product recommendations based on the items they searched for the last time they visited the site.
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It is important to encourage visitors to spend as much time as possible on a website. If the website doesn’t contain responsive content, the user is likely to go somewhere else.
Faster load times are always better. Up to seven percent of users say they will leave a website if it doesn’t load immediately. If your website takes five seconds to load, half of website visitors won’t stick around. If a website’s design isn’t responsive, thus optimized, and a user is visiting the site using a mobile device, it won’t load quickly.
A responsive design makes the website seem more professional by loading faster, which is good for business, but it can also provide users with a more personal experience. Hyper-targeted marketing is gaining in popularity because it can be more effective than traditional advertising. Sites with responsive content that creates a more personal experience by displaying product recommendations or welcoming users by name are more popular among users than sites that aren’t personalized.
Not only is responsive content important to the user experience, it is important in other ways, too. First, it eliminates the hassle of updating two separate websites. Instead of building one traditional website and another mobile website, a responsive design changes automatically. With just one design instead of two, it can save the cost of developing two separate sites as well.
Responsive content is especially important when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines, like Google, have been using responsive design as a ranking factor in its algorithm since 2015. If a website is not responsive to whether a user is accessing the content from a mobile device or a desktop, it will fall in the rankings.