Over the last year, the most common question I’ve been asked by clients is – “What is Responsive Web Design, and why do I need it?” Here are the basics:
So, what is Responsive Web Design?
Let’s start with a visual demonstration. Drag your mouse to the bottom right corner of this page until you see a two-way arrow, then click and drag up and to the left to shrink the page. Did you notice what happened? Now click and expand the page back to its normal size. As you can see, the page “responds” to its environment, allowing the website’s content to remain fully visible, regardless of the screen size. Quite simply, Responsive Web Design (or responsive design) employs coding that creates an optimal visual experience across any platform – including desktop, tablet and mobile.
Why does this matter?
Accessibility. In today’s digital age, potential customers have almost endless options. To win business, you need to be where your customers are – and increasingly, they’re surfing the Web on mobile devices. The proliferation of these devices has changed the way we view Web content. More than half of all Americans now use smartphones and tablets, and they expect a seamless experience when consuming content, regardless of the platform. Your audience is “device-agnostic.” Your content needs to be device-agnostic too.
Traditional website designs, while accessible via mobile browsers, are often difficult to view on mobile devices because they lack the layout to adapt to changes in screen size and operating systems. Before responsive design, the most effective technique to remedy this issue was the development of a mobile website – a companion site to a traditional site designed specifically for mobile devices. While mobile sites can be effective, they are a completely separate entity requiring separate maintenance and separate costs. Responsive sites allow for single content distribution and maintenance across all devices and browsers.
Is responsive design expensive?
In many cases, responsive design may be slightly more expensive than traditional design. However, the overall cost of ownership is generally lower than traditional design – assuming you’ll need to purchase a mobile site as well. Additionally, responsive design is set up to meet emerging technologies and platforms, like smart watches and smart TVs. Responsive Web Design – if done right – can serve as a long term solution.
Do I need responsive design?
Responsive Web Design is quickly gaining in popularity and usage. The Boston Globe, Microsoft, GE and Princeton University – among many others – have employed responsive design for their web presences. Responsive Web Design is a viable long-term solution for a wide variety of websites. However, each business and organization is different. While most websites would benefit from responsive design, you must take into consideration the unique variables of you business model.
To learn more about what type of web design is right for you, fill out the form to the right and strike up a conversation! We’ll be happy to share our knowledge with you!