T he amount of internet users has increased dramatically and continues to grow every year. It truly is amazing when we take a step back to look at the numbers associated with the climbing rate of internet connection around the world. According to Internet Live Stats about 40% of the world population now has internet connection compared to 1% in 1995, that doesn’t seem like a staggering number until you start to consider current world population and the population growth rate. Check out Internet Live Stats’ article to see the visual aids to put these numbers in perspective.
Internet users passively influence the shape and functionality of the web, this influence is noticed best when we begin to look at how internet users interact, engage and access the internet. In the early days the web was primarily if not exclusively used via a desktop. Web developers responded to this trend by incorporating designs that featured images, text sizes and layouts that made use of the full size of a computer screen. Today internet engagement has changed dramatically with the rise in popularity of smart phones and tablets in the marketplace.
Smartphones have quickly evolved to take over multiple marketplaces and dramatically change how users navigate important daily life activities with internet engagement being the prime example! According to the Pew Research Center 64% percent of Americans in 2015 owned a smartphone and of that a staggering 10% didn’t have another means of high speed internet access. These statistics become even more interesting when you consider mobile’s rise to popularity as king of the hill of data consumption. Mobile-only users have outnumbered desktop-only users for more than a year and the difference is only growing. So how do we as web designers and developers respond to these trends, is a responsive theme enough?
A responsive web design is a design that is developed to look professional and well-designed on any screen size or device. Responsive web design is longer a consideration but a best practice when building your online web presence. If you use WordPress to design and build your website like 74.6 million other websites online than you may think a theme with a responsive feature is enough to achieve this goal…it is not!
Images are essential when designing a professional website but are often the hardest part to optimize. Responsive designs like Muffin Group’s Betheme have many features to help resize images depending on the user’s device, but often this automatic feature often isn’t enough. Images often need more than resizing when converting a web design from desktop to mobile. Designers need to consider the purpose of the image and how much attention it demands, an image on a desktop can be dominant and a call to action but that same image on a mobile device can be distracting. The overall goal is to make effective use of the visuals on both the desktop and mobile devices
Navigation is a no brainer when designing websites for desktop engagement, but many designers are overlooking how their responsive theme or design changes the navigation menu depending on device used. Mobile users often have a different set of goals than desktop users and knowing how they interact with your website is very important when designing a successful mobile navigation bar. Depending on the goal of your websites customer the navigation menu can feature a search tool or a contact us button. Navigational menus can also be built into a responsive design like Betheme by Muffin Group. Be theme allows for sticky headers, smaller font size, smaller or completely different logos for mobile responsiveness. Many of Betheme’s responsive features can be gradually tweaked to allow for greater customization and overall better functionality.
One of the most important things to keep in mind while building a website is your visitor’s goal. On a desktop we have the luxury of displaying multiple CTA’s focused on the same goal because we have the real estate to do so. Mobile devices have much smaller screens, so our CTA’s need to change to reflect that, on mobile devices the CTA should be the very first thing that captures the visitor’s attention. The CTA needs to be above the fold and address the visitors goal instantly, while also telling them what action to take next. Clear and concise CTA will raise conversion These few quick tips should help raise your mobile ad effectiveness as well as ensure that your mobile site is more than just a responsive design!
Responsive websites are an absolute necessity in today’s ever advancing world, soon just having a “responsive” site design will not be enough. I didn’t come into this article looking to promote another company, but find myself highly praising Muffin Group’s Betheme Theme for the WordPress CMS. Not only does Betheme offer a one click responsive website, they dive deeper into customizing how your web design responds. Each element of a page can be customized to either show or not show based on device, this is radically beneficial to developers who want a page to display differently based on device, but don’t want to create to separate pages with one dedicated to an individual device. I have been designing pages using Betheme for about 12 months now and I Couldn’t be more impressed with this group. Betheme has separated itself from the competition by offering frequent updates, 210+ pre-built websites with 1 click installation, Muffin Builder coupled with Visual Composer (codeless web builders) and great customer service. If you’re in the market for a new theme for WordPress that can handle all your needs, please check them out here!