It is 2014 and technology is steamrolling forward at an incredible pace! Every day there are new devices being released; tablets, smartphones, phablets, smartwatches, mp3 players, laptops, computers and hybrids of all of these! It is no longer good enough to consider your website from a purely desktop computer perspective and it is more important than ever to make your content compatible with a range of devices!
The number of people viewing your website on a mobile device keeps climbing. Creating an interface for your website that is intuitive and easy to use on a mobile device will show that you care about accessibility and usability for your customers and help boost the professionalism of your website!
So what exactly is responsive web design? Responsive web design (also known as mobile friendly web design) is an approach to building a website so that it responds or in other words adjusts the layout to suit a number of different screen sizes. With so many different screen sizes out there. from small smartphones to huge HD monitors, it is impossible to design a separate layout for every single platform and just switch between them. Gone are the days of fixed width layouts, it is all about fluid grids and flexible image sizes. With some clever css and planning, it is possible to make one layout that adjusts itself to look great on a huge number of different screen resolutions.
So when is it a good idea to start looking at a responsive layout for your website? Well first of all, it is important to consider your target market. Where do you think your customers will be viewing your site? While just a few years ago mobile devices like smart phones and tablets were used by a mostly young and tech savvy target market, this is no longer the case. These devices are now well used by the everyday man/woman. We even know of a good many grandmas with iPhones and iPads!
It is also a good idea to consider your budget and your time frame. While it is great to have a responsive design, it just might not be practical within your budget or time constraints. Responsive design takes longer to develop and requires careful consideration and testing! These means it usually costs more than a regular website template.
Lastly, it is important to consider your content. Sometimes it is just not practical to make use of a responsive design. Your content may be very simple, and making a responsive layout for it is just not worth it, or you may have a very advanced website with many features and interactivity for which making a responsive layout would complicate things further and make it harder to navigate! Always think of your user first when deciding if a responsive design is the way to go. If it will improve the user experience then go for it! If it makes little difference or makes the experience and usability worse then it is probably better to stay away. It is a good idea to discuss it with your web developer and get some good advice on what will work for you and your website content.
So there we have it folks! A short and sweet introduction into the world of responsive website design. We will most certainly have some more news and information on this exciting and rapidly growing web design approach in future blog posts! For some great examples of responsive website design, check out our portfolio!
For more information on the benefits of responsive design, check this out!