Responsive design is a coding sequence developed in 2010 withe the sole purpose of forcing a website to respond to the screen size or device on which it is viewed. Responsive design was developed to give the growing number of users accessing the web on small-screen mobile devices a better viewing experience.
Responsive design still is touted as the be-all, end-all of web design, when, in reality, it's not. If responsive design is the only mobile-ready technology your website possesses, chances are your website could kill your top ranking in Google.
We’ve been aware of this issue for several years. Articles like this one from Smashing Magazine describe the issue in detail but don’t offer solutions most companies can afford.
Designers have been aware for some time that loading smaller images on mobile devices drastically boosts SEO. But these same designers didn't know how to solve for this issue.
The Failure of Responsive Design
The failure of responsive design is really the failure of website technology in general. Many websites today are so bloated that, with or without responsive design, they load very slowly whether the device is hardwired to the Internet or if it's using WiFi or a cellular service. The bloating issue is one of many reasons why we no longer build on WordPress.
Responsive design only reduces the viewable size of an image; it does not reduce how much data a web browser—especially a mobile browser—loads.
A full-width, high resolution home page image or slideshow will cause a browser to load any size from .5 meg to one full megabyte of data, per image. A big footprint like that equates to a slow loading, non-“mobile-friendly” website.
Because monitor screen sizes now range from the new 4K desktop monitors all the way down to the smaller screen sizes of smart phones, web designers are forced to settle on a compromise between image quality and image file size.
Consider the images below. The high-resolution magnified image slice on the left shows how we think images should be displayed. The image slice to the right has been degraded to save file size to lessen page load time while compromising image quality.
Which of these images would you like on your website? Which do you think your visitors would like to see? Which will either hurt or help your branding?
We created a software solution in the form of a Hubspot module. The software automatically detects the device being used, and loads the appropriate image for that device.
Thus, images can be formatted in high resolution while still loading fast in mobile devices. Years in development, the software offers some very high-end proprietary features:
- Uses a blend of technologies including the all-important HTML 5 <srcset> attribute, CSS, and JQuery.
- Has a small footprint; it is not bloatware.
- Works for all devices.
- Allows the designer to choose how the image is displayed, e.g., setting custom JPEG resolution for each image.
We think our software offers many enviable results, including:
- Websites are comprised mainly of text and images. We have solved the image display issue.
- We still use responsive design but here, it won’t kill your top ranking in Google.
- You get this module on all Hubspot COS websites that contain features like a full-width home page slide show.
The technology I just described is way beyond the "cookie-cutter" websites the majority of agencies deliver. No WordPress plugin or theme offers this functionality.
Give us a call. We’d love to talk to you about your goals, growth-driven design, and how you can grow your business through quality digital marketing.
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