Why All School Websites Must Be Responsive

Published: February 20, 2018

When designing or redesigning a school website, there are a myriad of things to consider. One of which is how accessible and user friendly the site will be on mobile and tablet devices.
Put simply, with over 55% of websites loaded on mobile devices rather than desktops, all school websites really must be responsive.
These figures will only start to rise as mobile and tablet devices become cheaper and more accessible across the world. This, coupled with a decline in laptop and desktop sales in comparison to smaller devices, means responsive design isn’t really a choice, it’s a given.

What is Responsive Design?

Responsive Web Design (RWD) is the industry leading, optimal approach to web design in the modern world. Responsive websites are designed to give users the best possible experience across all modern computers, tablets, smartphones, and internet ready devices. Websites designed responsively should scroll, read, and navigate without resizing or panning. The websites are designed and built to fit and function effectively, offering the same user experience across all devices.
You need your school website to be simple, easy to update, and amazing across all devices. It would be a mistake to take mobile and tablet usage statistics for granted. Your prospective pupils and their parents are searching for schools on their phones… Right Now!

Why is Responsive Design a Must?

Mobile Usage is on the Rise…
In the last decade, mobile data traffic has increased 3000%, this is expected to increase by over 400% by 2021.
Think of the amount of times that you check your phone each day… How often do you use your phone to Google something or check on social media?
80% of internet user own a smartphone. There are more mobile users than desktop users. People have much shorter attention spans and will not give a website a second chance if it has a slow load time or will not display properly on their mobile device. Why should they? We live in a consumer savvy society in which people are used to online instant gratification thanks to technology.
On average, we spend three hours a day glued to our smartphones. A recent Huffington Post study showed that responsive websites saw a 37% increase in unique visitors and a 50% increase in time people spend on pages.

Responsive Design Creates a Positive User Experience

In an ideal world, you want your school website to be well designed, well received, and easy to navigate. You want people to remember your website and to return to it or recommend it to a friend.
Responsive design helps with your website functionality across devices, leaving users feeling refreshed, and happy with their experience.
Think about the last time you viewed a sub-standard website and the way that this made you feel about the business that it was representing almost instantly.

Responsive Design Improves SEO

Sure, it’s great to have a functional website that looks great and displays all the information relevant to your school.
However, it’s not so great if nobody can find your website!
Ranking highly across search engines is an important part of any schools marketing plan as they always want to be seen ahead of competitors within their catchment area.
As of 2015, Google decided to favour responsive design for their mobile search results. Which makes sense if you think about it… Why would they favour unresponsive websites that won’t resize and display the correct information on mobiles and tablets?
Families near your school will be using their mobile phones to search for terms such as:
‘Best private schools near me’
‘Best school in my area’
‘Local primary schools’
So, you want to be listed in the top searches for these terms, therefore, it’s crucial that your school has a responsive website.
It’s not just Google that are reprimanding non-responsive sites in their search results, Facebook also favour responsive sites when displaying search results.
You don’t want to make it hard for your target audience to find your school. It’s in every school’s best interest to do what they can to make their website excellent, responsive, and SEO optimized.

Have Your Website Prepared for the Future

One of the best things about investing in responsive design for your website is that it will fully adapt to devices of the future.
As more and more people purchase smart watches and access the internet through large televisions and interfaces, your website will fit to their screens.
RWD doesn’t adapt by the type of device that you are using, it adapts to resolution and screen size, think of it like water pouring into different vessels.

Social Media Increases Mobile Traffic

Social media contributes to over 33% of website traffic and more than 55% of social media consumption happens on mobile devices.
The majority of this traffic comes from apps or social media advertising… Therefore, if you are using social media to drive traffic to your website… The website must be responsive… Otherwise you’re sending people to a site that won’t work properly on their mobile devices.
What a waste of advertising revenue! What a way to make your school look backwards!
All of this must be considered seriously when you make the commitment to your school and your team by investing in a design or redesign of your existing school website.