Responsive web design...that is a buzz word you might have heard of in the last couple of years. But, what it is and why is it important for you to know about it?
Answer this question first. What is quickly becoming the most popular way to browse the Internet?
If your answer is mobile devices, you are correct. According to a white paper put out by Cisco, the use of smartphones increased by 81 percent in 2012. And 2013 will be the year when the number of mobile-connected devices surpasses the world's population.
Now, what does mobile devices and responsive web design have to do with each other?
Responsive web design offers a way to make your website friendly to mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops. With the explosion of portable browsing devices, having a mobile-friendly website design has gone from optional to mandatory. You need a web design agency who knows how to make your website mobile friendly.
How does responsive web design work?
Think about the critical difference between mobile browsing and desktop browsing: the size of the screen. On a desktop, you likely have a screen at least 19 inches. With your smartphone, you are lucky to have six to seven inches of browsing space. Tablets allow a bit more, but not anywhere near that 19-inch desktop screen.
Browsing a website built for a desktop with a mobile device is an exercise in frustration. The graphics are too big, the pages load slow, and the constant scrolling is annoying. To answer that problem, an innovative web designer, Ethan Marcotte, came up with the idea of rearranging and editing the website components depending on what size window the browser has.
This innovative idea was a major leap forward compared to earlier theories. For example, one common option is to have two different websites: one for desktop browsing and one for mobile devices. You are talking about twice the coding, twice the cost, and twice the maintenance. Not a good plan if you want to keep costs under control, but many big companies implemented this model. Some companies even created more than two sites by programming for the different types of devices. That created even higher costs and more chaos.
What makes responsive design so special?
Responsive web design offers better usability for mobile users which expands your company's potential audience. It lowers maintenance time and costs because there is only one to worry about. It offers a single URL to remember instead of separate ones for mobile and desktop browsing. Any web design agency you hire should know how to handle this type of design.
Today, mobile devices are rapidly overtaking laptops and desktops for Internet browsing. Creating a website that will meet this demand is imperative for your marketing efforts. Now, is this type of design the best solution for everyone? Not always. But for most companies, it is the beginning of creating the website they need for sales for years to come.
When you are ready to put out a new website design for your new or existing site, you need to go with a responsive web design. You need a web design agency that can handle the design. In fact, a question you need to ask any agency is for examples of their responsive web designs. That will give you an idea of what they are capable of.