Modern consumers place a lot of importance on how responsive a website is. In fact, a high-speed site is the mark of a reputable company, while on the other hand they may not even see the first page on any site that's too slow to load. If your site isn't loading very quickly, then yes, it's time to optimise to a responsive one.
Your Greatest Enemy Is Boredom
It's sad, but true, that modern leads are easily bored by the things they see online. In fact, you have just seconds to catch their attention and draw them towards your content once they land on your page!
Unfortunately, even loading times are going to count against you. People who are online all the time have a good sense of how long a web page should take to load, and if your website isn't responsive enough to call things up quickly, then they're not going to stick around.
This is where the first part of a responsive website comes in: smooth coding and a solid connection that can quickly load the page even when it's under heavy traffic. Users should be able to access the page, and any content on it, with as short of a delay as possible.
Interactive Websites 101
It's not all about how fast your site loads though. The next part of a responsive site is the fun part - it's the interactions and experiences that users will have. That short attention span we mentioned above? It hasn't gone away.
Users who stay on your page will immediately start to engage with it, searching for whatever content brought them to it in the first place. It can be tempting to place everything right out front, where readers can find it...but this could actually hurt your business instead of helping it. Remember, you're dealing with leads that you're still trying to convince to stay around.
The real trick here is giving the visitor a sense of accomplishment. Instead of simply giving them their reward, you're drawing them in for an experience of "I searched for what I wanted and I found it". This subtle change establishes a better emotional connection with that visitor, and it's easiest to do when you're providing a responsive website that guides them towards clicking on your content.
What Types Of Responses Are There?
There are quite a few responses you could put on your website, but here are some of the most popular:
- Interactive Pages serve as more than just a focus point for the content, they give the visitor something to do while they're there. Keep in mind that all interaction should be intuitive and guided. Unless you're offering a puzzle, visitors should always know what to do next - use colours, shapes, and other indicators to help guide them through their interactions.
- Custom Pages are automatically-generated parts of a website that exist solely for one user. These are most common on forums, where each user has "read" different things, and so need different notifications. Technology has advanced to the point where it's actually possible to create a page that's keyed to a specific visitor's history and apparent interests. Many visitors do prefer it when sites directly address their interests and queries.
- Hide-Away Content tends to make itself unnoticed when users aren't directly interacting with it - think of the automatically-hiding start bar in Windows and you're on the right track. This allows you to add many features and options to a web page without hiding the content that visitors came to see, and they'll appreciate the gesture.
It takes some creativity to build a responsive website, but in the end, your users' satisfaction will be worth it.