Mobile Responsive – What Does It Mean?

It is no secret that in our lives today, we use our phones more than any other device. According to Statista, there are nearly 4 billion global mobile phone users and these mobile phone users are responsible for over half of the website traffic worldwide.
This makes it easy to understand why most websites are now designed to adapt to any screen size given the large proportion of users coming from mobile devices.
It is extremely frustrating to browse a website that has half its content cut off or one for which the content is too small to read as it hasn’t been designed to adapt to a smaller screen than a computer.
An example of this is the desktop website for the Olive Garden restaurant on a small screen, as shown here. (Image source: ‘’).
Adapting to screen size is what being ‘mobile responsive’ refers to and has become an integral design element of modern websites.
What does Mobile Responsive mean
‘Mobile responsive’ means that the page adapts to the screen size, so that it contains the same content and information on any device, but the layout is flexible and adjusts itself depending on the screen size.
The layout adjusting to each device size allows for:
the text to be readable without scrolling horizontally or pinching & zooming,
there is adequate space around and between buttons to tap on,
images to shrink to fit the space available on the screen.
The way things appear on different screen sizes is important to consider for any brand. Within our own app, Sentia, we have carefully designed our layout to allow for a smooth and easy user experience, no matter the screen size.
Image source: ‘Sentia’
This is not to be confused with sites that are ‘mobile-friendly’. These sites often tend to have a different version of their website specifically for mobile device that is a different layout, less information and a different user experience.
Why it matters
Being mobile responsive is important as the majority of us are going to view the content on a mobile.
By ensuring this, it caters not just for most viewers, but also ensures that no matter what device size is used, we always have the best possible experience that the company has intended for us.
When a site is mobile responsive, although more work up front, the business only has to maintain & a single website that adapts for all users.
It will always be the same experience for us to visit their website, increasing the effectiveness of that website and increasing how likely we are to continue to use their website.
Even Google, since 2015, has considered how responsive a website is as a vital factor as they value usability over anything else. They even factor this into their own search engine algorithms, listing a mobile responsive site ahead of one that is not responsive in the search results.
The aim of any website is to promote a business, its’ products or a service.
As the vast majority of visitors to sites today are using mobile devices with smaller screens than desktops or laptops, investments in websites is largely wasted unless they are mobile responsive.
Search engines will penalize sites that are not mobile responsive.
User experience will be poor and so if not responsive this investment in the website may well detract from the business’ offer and cost it revenue as we have all visited a website on our phones only to have a terrible experience and swear never to return!