Responsive Web Design has become the digital buzzword of the year. Lots of companies want to talk to us about it. They know it’s important. They’ve heard the term tossed around as the future of web development but what is it and why is important for your business?
What is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive Web Design is a way of creating flexible websites, using tools and techniques such as HTML5, CSS3 and media queries, that adapt to different screen resolutions. Ethan Marcotte first formulated it in 2010 as a response to the quick-paced changes in digital design that were emerging at the time.
The technical structures behind Responsive Web Design are very clever, but more important (certainly for our clients) is how it allows us all to think about our digital content. Mobile interaction designer Josh Clark has a good model, that we need to think of our content like water that can be poured into a multitude of containers.
This allows us to make websites that will work on a 1600x1200 desktop monitor and a 320×480 smartphone while looking great on both. Responsive Web Design can be a bit more time-consuming in the planning stages but it offers several important advantages to your business.
What are the Advantages of Responsive Web Design for your Business?
Technical approaches and buzzwords are all well and good but what does this mean to you and your company? Well there are several important advantages you can obtain through a responsive approach.
Reach more users on more devices
You don’t need to make different designs for every device out there (and devices that will come out next month). Instead you have one site that will work well and look consistently good on everything out there.
More than just a smaller version of your site
Most smartphone browsers will resize a website to fit the screen real estate available. This preserves the design but is rarely usable on a small screen. With Responsive Web Design your content will flow into the smaller container. Sidebars can disappear, images can resize or crop to fit and headline text can shrink to fit.
Faster site updates save you development and site management costs
If you have desktop, tablet and mobile versions of your site all of these need updating for every change you make to your site. With Responsive Web Design you only need to update your content in one place and everything is updated.
Get your site found
As you only have one set of URLs to manage your SEO can be more efficient. You don’t need to run separate desktop and mobile campaigns or choose where to allocate your budget. All your SEO effort will go to boosting your single site.
With a single site that works well across all devices your visitors get a consistent experience. This helps someone who found your site from a Twitter link on their phone feel at home when they visit your site on their laptop once they get home.