Responsive Design

An Introduction to Responsive Web Design

10 years ago, websites were something that people looked at on bulky, immovable computers. Designing a website to look good at one particular resolution was the standard and the standard was adequate for almost all purposes. Now, more and more people are viewing web content on smartphones and tablets. The most successful websites must have content designed to fit on any size screen or any type of device. Designing content in this manner is also known as responsive web design.

Mobile devices represent a steadily growing percentage of overall web traffic. According to a 2012 survey conducted by TechCrunch, mobile devices are set to overtake desktop PCs as the dominant internet platform this year (2013).

Difficult Websites Lose 22% of Their Mobile Traffic

In today’s world, your potential customers are faced with hundreds of choices when they search for products and services. If your web content is difficult or awkward to view, you will not just inconvenience customers; you will lose them. According to a keynote systems survey, 46% of mobile users have had difficulty interacting with a webpage on their mobile device. Even more troubling, if a webpage accessed by a mobile device takes too long to load, 16% of users will leave the page and never return, and an additional 6% will go to a competitor’s website. That’s a total mobile traffic loss of 22%.

The bottom line – you need to give all users, regardless or their access platform, a seamless experience, and responsive web design offers a cost-efficient way of acheiving that. Responsive web content can dynamically change size, fonts and colors to match whatever device your customers might be using.

Before responsive design, your best choice was to design multiple versions of your website for various screen sizes. While this method did ensure that your content was accessible to almost anyone, development costs were greatly increased.  Simple website maintenance could quickly grow into an expensive, time-consuming chore meaning that your customers could be missing your latest marketing promotion. The “develop once, view anywhere” philosophy of responsive web design spares you time, stress, and a boatload of development costs.

Responsive Web Design is Simpler Than you Think

Quite a few organizations are choosing to develop iOS or Android apps instead of websites. While an app is a great option for accessing content on a mobile device, app development can be a time-consuming, expensive process. In addition, apps must be developed individually for each platform that you choose to support. This is not much different from developing multiple versions of your website, but because iOS development is a more specialized skill, it can be a more expensive undertaking.

Responsive web design relies on relatively simple, industry standard tools like HTML5, CSS and Scripting languages such as JavaScript and PHP. Any decent web design company should be capable of delivering responsive web content. If as web designer tells you that responsive sites are not necessary, you should consider looking for a new web designer. The initial costs will be slightly higher compared to the cost of designing simple, static webpages, but in the end, you will have a product that readily communicates the messages of your business or organization to the widest possible audience.

Responsive Web Design is Google Approved

Additionally, cleaner links used across multiple platforms mean responsive design improves SEO. Google has stated in no uncertain terms that responsive design is preferred: “Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely, serving the same html for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.”

Your business or organization depends on your website to communicate with both your current and future customers. If you want to reach as many people as possible, you need need to adapt to emerging trends in media consumption, and you need a top quality website. By insisting on responsive web design, you give yourself the best chance to reach the most people in the most cost effective manner. When you think of websites, think responsive.


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  1. Great resource for responsive web design! We’ve added it to the Responsive Design Knowledge Hub:


    • Thanks Nicole! Glad you found it helpful!

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