How Responsive Design Improves Conversion Rates

Last updated - November 7, 2019

Most of us use our phones for everyday tasks, including shopping. However, when you encounter a mobile website cluttered or difficult to navigate, chances are you’ll leave it. Implementing responsive design ensures your visitors can make a purchase no matter the device they are using. Read on to learn how to increase conversions with responsive design. 

What Is Responsive Design?

The term responsive design refers to creating images and websites in a way that automatically changes the layout to meet the requirements of the target screen. This approach aims to prevent the need for scrolling, zooming or resizing. When the website isn’t optimized for the size of the screen, users get annoyed and they abandon the site. 

Responsive design involves the use of fluid grids, which is a flexible layout that responds to the size of the screen.

The image below, for example, shows the difference between a website layout and a mobile version. In the mobile version, the product image is centered, making it easier for the user to navigate the page. 

Responsive Design

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Adaptive web design features several layouts for different screen sizes. 

For example, you configure a layout for smartphones, one for tablets and another for desktop.

When a user visits the site, the website detects the device requesting the webpage, and then delivers the correct layout. 

Comparison Adaptive vs Responsive Design

Responsive websites usually load faster because they don’t have to load all the layouts beforehand. Responsive websites load only one layout that works for all devices.

Adaptive design is less flexible. The website will adapt to as many screens according to the number of layouts it has. However, sometimes your website won’t adapt to a specific screen size. This means you need to edit the layouts for each new device. 

Responsive design can be a harder job, because it requires making a single layout that can work for any screen size. Nevertheless, it’s by far the most popular method to build websites. 

Tips and Considerations

There are some factors responsive designers should keep in mind when designing. Here are some tips and considerations that can help ensure your design translates well: 

  • Start with middle resolution—you should start configuring the middle resolution and use media queries to define the adjustments for lower and high-resolution versions. This is easier than working from the top down since it ensures a more uniform web design.  
  • Maintain the visual hierarchy—the visual hierarchy is the order in which the viewer consumes the information on a page. Webpages use a number of visual characteristics to attract the user’s attention to parts of the page. You should maintain this pattern as the layout changes screen. One way to ensure this is to keep the design as simple as possible. 
  • Keep in mind the ads—while the web layout flows from screen to screen, this may not be the case with the ads included in it. It’s important to test the ads adapt well to the different screens, ensuring they don’t disrupt the overall layout. 
  • Different download times—desktop and mobile devices have different download times. That is why images should be optimized, loading as fast as possible. 

Why Responsive Design Can Increase Conversions?

Google algorithms factor responsiveness into a site’s ranking. If a site is not mobile-friendly, it might drop in search results. This is why web designers strive to optimize websites for mobile devices. 

Ensuring your website is responsive and mobile-friendly can help you attract more visitors that also stay around longer. When visitors stay longer, your revenue increases. Research indicates that half of all e-commerce revenue originates from mobile purchases. Here are some more statistics that show that responsive design increase conversions:

  • People prefer to search from their mobilesmobile searches account for 63% of total searches. Interacting with the world through our phones is the new normal. 
  • People expect your website to be responsive—websites that are difficult to navigate repel users. More than half of users will abandon a page if it is not mobile-friendly. 
  • People like to shop via their phones—more than half of users prefer shopping online, which means more people prefer to make purchases via mobile

How to Optimize Responsive Design for Conversions

When designing a responsive website, the million-dollar question is what to keep and what to trim. There are conversion elements that should be translated to mobile versions, while there are details that don’t really add value. 

Keep

Any element that can make mobile users find or purchase what they are looking for is worth keeping. Examples of useful elements are call-to-action and tap-to-call buttons.

A responsive design focused on conversions needs to take into account the smaller screen, to avoid cluttering the layout. Inserting rich media elements, such as video and sound, can make the small screen more engaging. 

Trim

What should you leave behind? Well, simply put, discard anything that can put off a visitor or distract them from the call to action. 

Responsive Design

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In the image above, we can see how the municipality of Staffanstorp in Sweden brings its services close to the citizens via a responsive website. The desktop image has news and information about the city. 

You can see how the layout was adapted to the tablet by changing the top menu into a button bar and decreasing the size of the images. The changes are more obvious in the mobile site, where the layout just featured the search bar and call to action buttons. 

Another example is the Boston Globe responsive website. As you can see in the image below, more text is displayed as the screen decreases in size. This ensures that the key content (the articles) gets first place. The relevance of the elements depends on the product or industry. For example, websites designed for the food industry should focus on images, to showcase the food. 

Responsive Design

Image Source

Tips for Responsive Design

Simplify the design as much as possible

You can include images in a slideshow instead of thumbnails to keep the layout clean. Include only one focus element with a call-to-action close. 

Content that expands

Take advantage of the touch screen to add tap-to-action content. That way you can add more content without cluttering the layout while engaging the user.

Large call-to-action button

It should cover the entire width of the screen to prevent users to squeeze and zoom-in. 

Make the most important feature noticeable

For example, in an e-store, price and payment options should be right in front of the customer. Product reviews and ratings should be front-and-center, to reinforce the purchasing intention of the customer. 

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