More and more people have started to browse the web on mobile, which means that there’s a lot of pressure on businesses to ensure that their websites are optimized for all possible devices. A large, high-quality image that looks great on a desktop computer may be too big to load on a smartphone’s mobile browser. Conversely, images optimized for a smartphone’s relatively smaller screen can appear stretched-out and pixelated on a computer monitor.
If the images on your site don’t look good or load too slowly, this can put users off and discourage them from visiting your website—and, more broadly, hurt their overall impression of your brand. Most users can’t be expected to make the effort to view your site on their computer if it doesn’t work on their phone, or vice versa.
Fortunately, by applying the principles of responsive web design (RWD), you can make sure that the images on your website work well on any kind of viewport. Simply put, responsive web design is an approach to web design that prioritizes a site’s adaptability across multiple screens and devices. In that vein, responsive images are collections of identical images in different sizes and resolutions. When an internet user loads a web page on a certain device, say a smartphone, their browser can rapidly index information such as screen size, internet speed, orientation, and resolution. Using this information, the browser can then choose the image that will display best on the device in question.
Reputable full-service digital marketing firms like SearchWorks offer web design services that include the use of responsive images. Here are a few of the most compelling advantages when it comes to incorporating responsive images into your website:
Responsive Images Enhance the User Experience
User experience (UX) is one of the biggest determinants of a website’s success in the digital age. If visitors to your business website find it unattractive, unreadable, or difficult to navigate, it’s unlikely that they’ll be motivated to spend much time on it—much less to actually purchase the products and services your company offers. On the other hand, good UX design can encourage site visitors to form a positive impression of your brand, patronize your business, and even promote your organization within their personal networks.
Images are an especially important part of modern web design. Very few websites, if any at all, are designed without any images whatsoever. This is because images offer a succinct, clear way to convey information, and they’re also capable of inspiring particular emotions in the people who view them. By using responsive images, you can leverage these benefits for a better user experience regardless of what device your site’s visitors are viewing it on.
Responsive Images Accelerate Your Website’s Loading Time
Recent studies show that almost 80 percent of users will navigate away from websites that take longer than three seconds to load. Hence, it’s in your organization’s best interest to optimize every page on your site for the shortest possible loading time. That way, visitors to your website will spend less time waiting around for your site to load up (which will probably get them frustrated in the process) and more time actually navigating and interacting with it.
Images are probably going to be the dominant resource on any web page, which is why it’s worth going the extra mile to make sure that every picture you use is responsive. High-resolution images are always very large in terms of file size, which will need a high-speed internet connection in order to load quickly. Responsive images are a more accessible alternative that can help your site perform well, even for users on mobile or those with slower connections.
Responsive Images Improve SEO Rankings
Modern search engines are designed to note the preferences and browsing behaviors of human users and to reflect these preferences in the search results they display. For instance, search engines like Google will notice that users tend to click away from websites that load slowly, are difficult to read, or have complicated navigation systems. It will then lower these websites’ SEO rankings accordingly. In contrast, users are more likely to stay and enjoy their time on fast-loading, visually appealing, and easily navigable sites, so these sites will also rank more highly on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Because responsive images do a lot to improve user experience on a particular business website, it stands to reason that they’re also a godsend for that site’s SEO performance. In fact, many web development experts now argue that a responsive website is almost as important to good SEO as topnotch content. Using responsive images and other RWD principles also eliminates the need to develop separate versions of your site for desktop and mobile, which can hurt your rankings due to duplicated content.
Responsive Images Are Undemanding to Maintain
Responsive images and other aspects of responsive web design seek to apply a “one size fits all” approach to web development. Whether you’re working with in-house web developers or outsourcing the work to an external firm, the people working on your website can make use of standardized testing approaches to verify that all your images load optimally on any kind of screen. This is a much more efficient use of time, labor, and resources than designing, building, and maintaining separate desktop and mobile sites. For the time and effort they’ll save in your web development process, responsive images are the smart way to go.
Using responsive images means you’ll no longer have to worry about your images being cropped, stretched, or otherwise distorted beyond appreciation on certain screens. You’ll instead guarantee that any graphics on your website will appear sharp, clear, and pleasurable to look at on all devices. Treat your web visitors and potential customers to an immersive, inclusive, and user-friendly experience on your website and incorporate responsive images with the help of the web design experts at SearchWorks.