What you need to know about Responsive Website Design

You must have heard the term ‘Responsive website design’. Do you know what it means? Read this article and determine if you need your website to be responsive.

Evolution of Web Design and Development

Website design and development has evolved significantly in the past decade. In the 90’s websites were built using tables. Then around 1996 Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) was released. CSS became popular in 2003 when the web design community used them to completely restyle a site without touching the HTML. Since 1024 x 800 px was the most popular resolution, the development community created sites that were 940px or 980px wide leaving wide space around the edges. In 2010 mobile devices became popular. At this time designers started creating separate sites for mobile devices and separate sites for desktops. The mobile sites would usually contain less information than the desktop versions. As a result multiple sites had to be maintained.

Later media queries were implemented giving the designers the ability to create 1 website for different screen resolutions instead of different versions of the same website.

What Is Responsive Website Design?

Responsive website design is a design approach that provides users optimal viewing experience regardless of the browser, device or screen size being used. The sites designed using the responsive approach adapts their layout to the browser the user is using. As a result the user does not have to scroll horizontally to view the site. Responsive design uses fluid grids, fluid images, videos and text, CSS3 and media queries. Instead of fixed unit such as pixels, relative units like percentages are used.

Why is Responsive Website Design so important?

Google has always emphasized on usability and user experience. Google recommends responsive website design. If a website is not responsive, Google will drop the site from their mobile search index.

With the advance of mobile devices, over 80% of users are now using mobile devices to surf the net. The number of users using desktop has been significantly reduced. With this in mind, not having a responsive website will kill your sales.

Having a responsive design means you only need one website. You do not have to maintain several websites for different devices. This of course saves time and money. With more devices coming in the market it means varying screen resolutions and orientations. With iPhone, iPad and smartphones, many new devices are able to switch from portrait to landscape at the user’s whim. Creating a website version for each resolution and device would be impossible.

Does it make sense to convert your existing website to Responsive Design?

If your website is not code heavy it can be done. However, the cost of converting it would be the same as redoing the website. It would be lot easier to start from scratch.

Responsive Web Design