What is responsive web design? There’s a good to fair chance that you are reading this article on your smartphone which stands as testament to the fact that iPhones and Androids are here to stay. In fact, since the inception of the iPhone when it was introduced to the marketplace in 2007, the way that the general public surf the internet has drastically evolved. How many people do you know that don’t have a smartphone? – Exactly.
And due to this exponentially increasing popularity and continued technological advancement in these handheld devices, Responsive Web Design has caused a considerable shift in the way that people are consuming digital content. Particularly among the younger generation of today, people are not only using their smartphones to access the internet on the go, but they’re also replacing laptops and desktop computers all together.
This is why mobile marketing and mobile friendly web design has never been so important! If you’re a web designer and you are building websites that are solely designed for the desktop experience then you are going to be significantly reducing the amount of traffic that will be coming through your site due to the sheer volume of web-surfers that are doing so on their handheld devices – it may be time to start optimising all of your websites for both desktop and mobile devices (This is where Responsive Web Design comes into play).
The drawbacks of building content solely for desktops
While desktops and have smartphones have their similarities, on the whole they are vastly different – especially when it comes to browsing the internet. The main issue is that some people are still treating them as one in the same thing when it comes to the way that websites are built. Mobile phones are pocket size with smaller screens that are controlled with your finger whereas desktops use the classic mouse. It doesn’t matter how spectacular and aesthetically pleasing a website is, if it is optimised solely for the desktop experience then it will appear to be clumsy and muddled when accessed via a smartphone.
The quick-fix in the early days was simply to build two separate versions of a website that are specifically tailored to the device in question. Ultimately this process is not all that efficient. Effectively having to carry out twice as much work began to prove cumbersome to web developers and so they searched for a smarter way of achieving the same goal – and so responsive web design was born.
What is responsive web design all about?
Without having to get too deep and technical: responsive web design simply allows you to build one single version of a website that will appropriately optimise itself for whichever type of device that is being used. This technology boasts an automated process that will allow your website to look great whether being viewed on a laptop, desktop, android, iPhone 4, iPhone6S, Samsung Galaxy and so on and so forth – the size of the screen is irrelevant as the user will experience smooth and comfortable navigation regardless.
Why is responsive web design so important?
If you are looking to provide your potential customers with the best possible user experience then you will need to ensure that your website is appropriately accessible from any device. As I am sure you will be able to relate: if I come across a website that isn’t mobile friendly I almost instantaneously move on to the next – the fact is that ultimately it doesn’t matter where I source the information that I am searching for provided that the website is straight forward and easy to navigate. My days of awkwardly pinching, scrolling and zooming are over and with the rise of responsive web design: so are yours.
The beauty of responsive web design is that not only does it make the user experience a whole lot easier, but it is also vastly more convenient for web developers. This allows them to conveniently spend less time building several versions of the same website and more time investing in just the one. 2016 has been a magnificent year so far in terms of web development and as we browse on into the future it will only become more and more responsive.