What is a Responsive Website and Do You Need One?

Mobile and handheld devices are increasingly popular and are being used in place of or in addition to the PC. Mobile devices are great for people who are always on the go and can be ready at any time to help the user find information. Think about how often you use your smartphone or tablet to look for information or entertainment, and look around you and see how many others are doing the same.

Consumers are using mobile devices to research and contact healthcare providers. This is a trend that I’ve seen more and more on the websites I manage. Mobile access is usually around 40 to 50 percent –  that’s half of the people visiting your site viewing it on a small screen.

When a potential patient lands on your website from a mobile device, what will they see?

Your website may be mobile friendly, which means that the website can be navigated with a mobile device but the entire website is shrunk down to fit the tiny screen. There’s not much “friendly” about that. This layout makes your website difficult to read and access information. Users will become frustrated and leave.

Your website needs to be responsive so it will adapt to fit any screen, whether that be an iPhone, iPad, Android or desktop. If your website is responsive and information is easy to access, the user will have a good experience and stay on your website longer.

So what are the key things that make a responsive site great?

Design for touch. Users will navigate with their finger, not a mouse, so functions should be intuitive to the mobile experience. Here are some key design points to keep in mind.

  • Clean, uncluttered layout
  • Easy navigation accessible at the top
  • Home button
  • Phone number click to call
  • Tap for directions
  • Clickable social media icons
  • Allow users to “go to full site” if they choose.
  • Offer a back button on internal pages.
  • Condensed content

If you don’t have a website, you need one; and while you’re at it, go ahead and make it a responsive website. If you already have a website, ask your web developer for options to convert it to mobile responsive. It is the next necessary step in staying current with your online presence.

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