These days, users access the web using lots of different kind of devices with different screen sizes, resolutions, pixel density, etc. These include tablets, smart phones, TVs, desktop computers and laptops.
Responsive web design allows you to have a single website that automatically fits the screen size of the device on which it is being viewed. This is achieved by adapting the content, design, navigation and method of interaction to deliver the same content in the most user-friendly way possible, appropriate to the user’s viewing device.
On April 21st 2015, Google announced a change in the way they will rank websites on their search engine results pages. This is because market stats show that over half of all web searches are made on mobile phones and tablets, and this share is increasing. Google now show a positive preference to websites that display properly on mobile devices – ie websites that are responsive. This means that irrespective of whether your business is actually likely to have visitors looking for you on tablets and smart phones, Google will look less favourably on your site if it is not optimised for mobile devices. This does not mean that Google will not consider a ‘non-optimised’ site at all, but if there is a mobile optimised rival for a similar search term, that site will get preference.
Ignore responsive design at your peril!