We talk about responsive design a lot. We mean A LOT. Just browse through our blogs, and you’ll find that most of them make reference to responsive design in some way. Why? Because it’s important. Responsive design is the latest approach to web design, combining design and development to create websites that look great on all platforms.
So, what is Responsive Design?
Simply put, responsive design is a way of designing and building a website to work across desktop screens, mobile devices, and tablets. A responsive website will display differently depending on the screen size, resolution, and device.
Why would you want a responsive website?
Responsive Design = Better user experience
Have you ever tried to visit a website on your phone, only to have to “pinch and zoom” in order to actually see anything? Or do you regularly hit the wrong link on websites because they’re too small and close together? Responsive design solves this. From the very beginning, an adaptable design is created with multiple platforms in mind. Mobile designs typically include a more streamlined site, sometimes with less content, and much more user-friendly interface.
We’ve talked about Google’s mobile update a few times now, and we’re going to talk about it again. Google has acknowledged that more than half of all searches made online are from mobile devices, so the results given should be friendly for mobiles. Responsive design is one of the easiest ways to get your website ready for mobile users. Which brings us nicely on to our next point…
One site only
Prior to the introduction of responsive design, the only way to have a mobile-friendly website was to create a separate website that would automatically display when receiving information that it was being viewed from a mobile device. E.g. If you had the website URL www.example.co.uk, you’d probably have a separate mobile-friendly site living at m.example.co.uk.
A responsive site negates the need for a separate site, as it will automatically display the optimal format, all within one site.
How big is a website?
We’ve mentioned that previously you could create a separate website for mobile visitors, which used to be an excellent solution to a very real problem. Nowadays though, there are so many different sized smartphones, tablets, phablets (a cross between a phone and a tablet. It’s basically a REALLY big smartphone), and even smart watches with access to the Internet. How do you define how big a mobile site should be? And computers are no different. From desktop computers with huge screens to notebook laptops that are smaller than some modern phones, every screen is different.
Responsive design reacts to the screen size perfectly, growing or shrinking without losing any functionality.