Responsive or Multi-Screen website design is definitely old news but for those who are just starting to learn how to make a website it is an important subject to read up on. Years ago mobile phone traffic that landed on a website had to be diverted to a dedicated mobile friendly version of a website but today new themes are nearly all multi screen friendly.
Google Insights suggests that up to 90% of website traffic today is displayed on screens, at Make-Website.com we have seen a huge shift from monitors to mobile devices over the last 3-4 years. MobileGeddon, on the 21st April 2015 Google started using mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor in searches. Don’t be overly concerned, take your time to read up on Multiscreen websites before racing to make changes Google uses hundreds of Rank Factors all of which are weighted at different levels.
What is Multi-Screen
Websites are now being displayed on a multitude of various screen sizes and devices. Smartphones, tablets, Televisions, gaming consoles and E-readers are a few examples. Responsive or Multi-Screen friendly websites adapt to the visitors screen size. This doesn’t just mean the screen shrinks to fit, a good responsive multi-screen website will rearrange the content structure of the website to suit the visitors device and also introduce new features to the website layout to make navigation easier. Examples of this would be the removal of some sidebars, re-sizing of images, menu bar changes and zoom functions.
How can you tell if a website is Multi-Screen friendly
Our website, Make-Website.com is multi-screen ready and ranks highly in Googles Multi-Screen testing. If you are using a desktop try reducing the browser size to roughly the size of a tablet then refresh the page. When the screen loads you should see that the content has been restructured to fit, just like in the above graphic. Notice the addition of a new menu bar, this is a key feature of a good responsive multi-screen website.
A website that isn’t Multi-Screen ready won’t adjust to various screen sizes. Visitors will have to scroll across a page to read the content and importantly the menu navigation might not be displayed.
What makes a Responsive theme great!
A great responsive multi-screen website should make a visitors experience enjoyable. Keep in mind that you can write the best content on the internet for your website but if a website is ugly and hard to navigate traffic won’t spend enough time on the site to find what they are looking for.
A good responsive website theme should allow you to create a second menu bar that is displayed only when a visitor is viewing your website on a mobile phone. Limiting the number of pages displayed in a mobile navigation is important, try to include your key pages. This helps reduce the bounce rate of your website on mobile devices, when a visitor is bombarded by a massive number of navigation menu options it just makes it harder for them to find your good pages.
Do images fit? Is the text too small, or is it just too big.
How to test a new theme for Multi-Screen display
If a demo is available for a theme you should try testing out the Multi-Screen functionality. The easiest way is to load the demo website on various devices that are available to you.
Another way is by opening the demo site on a desktop browser and then test various screen sizes by readjusting the browser window. To perform an accurate test refresh the browser after changing the size of the display. If there isn’t a demo site for the theme, visit the themes help forum you are likely to find users who are keen to show off their website.
Another way to test if a theme’s multi-screen functionality is to visit a “Responsive Website Simulator”. Be a bit careful with this as some just minimize the website being tested to fit on various screen sizes and don’t actually trigger a change in the websites layout.
Analyzing traffic data is a great way to test your websites responsive functionality. We have taken a recent snapshot of traffic visiting one of our other websites which also ranks highly in Multi-Screen testing. As you can see the percentage of mobile and tablet devices used to visit the site is significant. The website is a hobbyist themed site with the average age of visitors being 20-35 so you can understand the importance of the website being functional on devices like mobile phones. Looking at the Bounce rate, pages visited and the visit duration there isn’t a big difference in the desktop figures and the mobile devices. Analyzing data like this is an important secondary test you can perform on your Multi-Screen website after it has been functional for a few months.