This article was posted on Thursday, Dec 01, 2016

Web design can be a definite pain point in multifamily, yet it’s a major factor in whether prospective renters are able to find the information they need about your property.  As more and more people access the internet from mobile devices, responsive website design has become the most important feature for apartment websites.  Here’s what you need to know about responsive design.

What is Responsive Design?

If your website has responsive design, that means that it responds or adjusts when viewed on different devices.  Does your audience have a smartphone?  A widescreen desktop monitor or perhaps a tablet?  Most users browse the web on more than one of these devices.  Responsive design is an approach to building your website that allows it to display and function well on any device.

“Mobile-Friendly” is not Necessarily Responsive

Just because your website is “mobile-friendly” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s responsive.  Oftentimes, mobile-friendly websites are a smaller version of your site that’s completely separate from your main website.  This approach has a mountain of disadvantages when it comes to maintenance, compatibility and SEO (search engine organization).

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Why Responsive Matters

According to StatCounter’s August statistics, over 35% of all web traffic comes from tablets and mobile devices.  Think of that in terms of your potential tenants.  One in every three renters is coming to your site in a non-traditional browser.  (Also, consider that mobile and tablet traffic has increased by 62% in the last 12 months and shows no signs of slowing).

You don’t have to be a statistician to see the writing on the wall.  More and more people are using the web on smaller devices that have some inherent limitations.  If a user comes to a website that doesn’t look or act right on their device, they’re far more likely to move on than to change their device.  Responsive design hits the bottom line.

Take the Test

First, check to see if your property’s website is responsive – it can be done in seconds.  Just follow these steps:

  • Open up your website in your desktop or laptop.
  • Click and drag the corner of the browser to make the window really narrow.
  • If your website is responsive, it will “snap” or respond by hiding or repositioning elements on the page to match what it believes is the new screen size.
  • If it works, click and drag your browser back and forth from large to small.  It’s fun to watch your website transform before your eyes.


So, your website didn’t seem to “snap” or respond.  That means your website is unresponsive.  What next?

Generally, responsive design is something decided before the building process begins on a website.  It’s much like constructing a multi-story building – you decide on the number of floors before the foundation is laid because it affects how the whole structure should be built.  Most likely, it will take more than a few small adjustments to make your website responsive.

Responsive Design:  The Present and Future

Responsive web design is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing.  As more and more people access the web via mobile, it’s imperative that your information displays correctly on any device.  Otherwise, those leads will begin to slip through your fingertips.  As mobile traffic increases, renters aren’t going to change their devices to accommodate you, so it’s about time you changed your design.


Kerie Kerstetter is the Director of Content Strategy for Canonball, a digital marketing agency in Dallas that specializes in both multifamily and mixed-use development.