Putting Numbers to User Experience with Responsive Design

In Part 3 of our Making the Switch to Responsive Design series, learn about the metrics impacted by responsive design and the objective ways in which the philosophy improves mobile user experience.

In the first two parts of our Making the Switch to Responsive Design series, we explored the technology behind responsive web development, the seamless experience it creates and the ways in which the mobile market share has grown exponentially, even influencing the majority of non-mobile purchases. This year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales highlight this influence—although retail sales were lackluster, online spending was up 19 percent and mobile sales grew nearly 43 percent over last year.

In Part 3 we return to the theme of user experience, this time delving into the measureable UX factors that drive higher conversions in responsive design and signal to search engines that visitors are engaged and satisfied with their destination.

Time on page

The amount of time a user spends on a page will often be shorter for mobile users than desktop users. After all, these users are not visiting to read long articles or fill out lengthy forms. However, a relatively high average time on page signals that users are actively engaged with the page they are viewing. By decreasing user frustration and providing a seamless experience, responsive websites encourage such engagement for mobile users.

Bounce rate

Perhaps the key metric in evaluating responsive design success, bouncing is one of the strongest ways that a visitor can “vote” against your site and signal their poor experience to search engines. In fact, if you do not have a mobile-friendly site at all—either an mdot site or a responsive one—61% of your mobile traffic will go to a search engine to find a competitor. With mobile use continuing to command a larger and larger share of the search market, a mobile-friendly solution is the best line of defense against high bounce rates.

Click through rate (CTR)

Just as a high average time on page signals that a piece of content is engaging, a high CTR to other pages on your site signals that a link is relevant to the user’s needs. A user-friendly responsive design not only encourages visitors to stay on your pages, it also encourages them to continue on to other pages on your site rather than seeking another, less frustrating resource.

When CareerBuilder began using responsive templates for their emails, they found that their CTR increased by 24%. The seamless experience of the email made readers comfortable in continuing the experience on another page. While the click through rates will not be nearly as high for internal page links as they are for targeted email campaigns, the increased response shows a definite trend.

Mobile user experience

Search engines already incorporate user experience signals like the ones above in their search engine rankings. However, recent comments from Google’s Gary Illyes have lead SEO experts to suspect that Google will begin paying special and specific attention to the experiences of mobile users in the future. In future installments, we’ll go into further detail regarding the SEO benefits of responsive design.

Just as responsive design improves the experiences of visitors, we have created a retinue of both free and premium easy-to-install responsive templates to improve the experiences of our merchants. Should you need any assistance installing your new responsive template, visit our Knowledge Base or contact our 24x7 support team.