Responsive design for agency websites

Tuesday 28 April 2015

The web is changing fast, and your agency website needs to keep up with those changes. In recent years we have seen explosive growth of devices with different screen sizes. Just recently Google announced changes which mean that sites which are not mobile and tablet friendly will be penalised in search results.

On the one hand, most people now access the internet every day on their mobile phone, with many agents reporting that over 50% of users view their websites on a mobile; on the other hand desktop monitors are getting bigger and bigger. And, of course, there are laptops, tablets and “phablets” in between. The advice is clear, though not always easy: great websites have to look good on screens of all sizes.

There are a number of trends that are affecting how people use your website, and what they now expect.

  • Over half of email is read on a mobile phone, so anyone clicking a link in a mail, for example a property alert or a property that a partner has emailed through, is likely to view your site on a mobile phone: do they get a good experience? 
  • Tablets are widely used for browsing, so the experience with a touch interface will reflect on your overall brand experience. You need a slightly bigger font for a tablet, and the space between touch targets needs to be a little bigger, to allow for navigation with a thumb, rather than a more accurate mouse!  
  • Very large monitors are now commonplace for desktops, so many new websites favour larger font sizes, big – even full-page – images and spacious layouts. 
  • Broadband connections are vastly improved, including for mobiles, making large, beautiful imagery more user-friendly and increasingly accepted, even for sites that are designed to perform well on mobile phones. 

To cater for these trends and the wide range of devices now used, modern, new websites are often built using responsive web design: this is where the display on the page changes according to the screen size, from large desktop down to mobile, to optimise the experience. Responsive websites are viewable on all devices, easy to read and navigate with a minimum of resizing, panning and scrolling. This ensures your website is accessible to all potential users, and given every user is a potential instruction, it’s crucial to be open for business on all devices.

The NAEA has joined forces with Homeflow, the leading specialists in estate agent websites. As part of the partnership, Homeflow has created a dedicated responsive design specifically for NAEA and ARLA members, and is offering very substantial discounts to members. For more information about this special NAEA and ARLA offer, or about responsive designs in general, please contact Homeflow to discuss it further.