What is a responsive website? According to Wikipedia…
"Responsive web design (RWD) is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors)". [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responsive_web_design]
In other words, a responsive website will respond to the user’s device by rendering the appropriate version of the site depending on the exact display area of that particular device. This creates a great user experience regardless of the device and should eliminate side to side scrolling. With literally hundreds of different mobile devices, it is virtually impossible to program a mobile version for each of them. Responsive allows programmers to build sites for display size rather than devices. Since all web development should be for humans first, and then SEO, responsive is the way to go. Notice in the below graphic, there is no scroll bar for the responsive version, and the navigation is cut off on the mobile friendly version (non-responsive). Scrolling a non-responsive website side-to-side is maddening for mobile users.
Mobile usage is increasing much faster than anyone predicted and property managers need to know how it affects them. The most critical area is with rental property display on a property manager’s website. Currently, this will be the most heavily used portion of your site from a mobile or desktop perspective, and mobile internet usage is already passing desktop usage. The overall trend is that mobile usage will continue to increase as desktop usage declines. Therefore, webmasters should program with an eye toward mobile devices FIRST and traditional desktop devices second. The best way to accomplish this is through responsive website design.
Most prospective tenants out in the field will use a phone or mobile device to view property information. This means that both your website AND your property display must be responsive to deliver the most professional experience to prospective tenants. MOST property management website providers do not build responsive websites, and even fewer offer a responsive property display. Many companies utilize a separate mobile website, which can be effective, but is no longer a best practice as we will cover in a future post.
To test your website and specifically your rental property display we recommend:
We recommend that property managers begin to budget for a responsive website within the next year to stay relevant and ahead of their competition. The internet is an ever-changing environment and we believe that responsive websites are here to stay. In our next post we will cover why it is important for SEO to switch to a responsive website. Questions, visit Property Manager Websites.