How to Make Your Website Accessible to All Users: Responsive Design and Dynamic Serving

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Using Mobile Devices

The last few years have brought ever-increasing technological advances to the computer world. Personal and business computing and Internet searching on desktops and laptops with large monitors have given way to devices that fit in a purse or the palm of a hand. Today’s users are turning to mobile devices—tablets and smart phones—to

  • bank and pay bills
  • shop for products and order services
  • make dinner and travel reservations
  • share photos and videos
  • apply for jobs, do work, and manage businesses

Essentially, consumers want computing and communications capability wherever they are and whenever they want, and optimizing your website to adapt to multiple devices and the platforms that run them is crucial as you design or improve your website. According to Google, at least half of all Internet searches are now done on a mobile device. If your website does not display well or easily on the range of screen sizes now available, your content will look different on each device—and potential customers will move on to a company whose website they can view and navigate easily.

Making Accessible Website

Mobile data usage has skyrocketed within the last few years, and Google’s search algorithm now heavily weighs mobile-friendliness when ranking websites. Even when larger screens are available, many on-the-go users prefer the convenience of mobile devices. And these users are goal-oriented: they know what they’re searching for and are ready to make decisions. Most website conversions—turning passive site traffic into actual leads (for example from a phone call or email inquiry)—happen within the first moments of a user visit.

Web designers use two primary ways to make content accessible across devices. One is through responsive website design, which allows your site to automatically adapt to fit any screen size, shape, or orientation while preserving the content. The only changes will be in the site’s style sheet as it recognizes different device types. The other way is through dynamic serving, which uses a single URL to access two versions of your website—one optimized for desktop/laptop use and the other for mobile use, with the device type recognized by the coding. This more complex, expensive system may deliver different user experiences.

Your goal is to get visitors to commit to your product or service in that all-important first visit, and a website optimized for multiple-device, multiple-browser use is critical to business success. Users will not wait around for content that doesn’t display properly or easily.

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