Responsive Web Design - Are your ready to respond?
What is responsive design?
On a mobile phone or tablet do you have to tap and zoom to pan-in to read the content of your website? Or conversely, does your site look lost on a large retina desktop monitor? If the answer is yes then your site has not been designed to respond to the various different devices now being used by your target audience – if information is not instantly at their fingertips they will probably look elsewhere.
Designing your site responsively is the responsible way to design. All new sites we develop are responsive, we don’t offer a choice. Layouts are designed and built to adjust according to the width of the viewing device. With responsive design what starts as a beautiful multi-column layout becomes an equally beautiful, snug pillar of readable text, free of unnecessary clutter.
Why is responsive design important to your business?
- Google have announced that from April 2015* they will favour mobile-friendly websites in the organic search positions over those that are not. Mobile sites will be offered preferential treatment within the organic search results.
*Worldwide roll-out starting on April 21st 2015
- Mobile browsing is set to overtake desktop browsing in 2015.
- More than six out of ten of all adults now own a smart phone, and this is increasing year on year.
- Over 35% of tablet users say the device is their main way of connecting to the internet.
Different audiences browsing habits vary but chances are a large percentage of your users are viewing your site from a mobile device. Check with whoever handles your site analytics to find out exactly what percentage of your visitors are viewing your website on a tablet or smartphone.
Size is everything
Responsive design is not only about making your site work well on small devices, the often neglected widescreen desktop needs consideration too. If you have a brochure or portfolio site you will want to make the most of the real estate available, to really ‘wow’ your audience. This doesn’t mean you should necessarily eagerly fill space just because it is there. Judicious use of ‘whitespace’ at the edges of a page layout is what defines that layout. The empty areas of a screen lend focus to areas of content and help direct the eye.
How best to approach responsive design?
The good news is that, while making the leap from a static to a responsive website is a significant one, it is achievable for almost every business, just as long as you scope the project out intelligently from day one, and understand a few fundamentals of responsive website design.
As designers we look at how best to ‘break’ the layout at different points (breakpoints) in the width of the viewing area (the viewport). We make decisions at each breakpoint as to what will happen to the number of columns, the order of the content, size of margins and size of text, sometimes electing to exclude non-essential content on the smallest devices.
We can help
All new sites we design are responsive, we don’t offer a choice, why offer a design solution that is bad for your business? If your website is not already responsive we would be pleased to do a free appraisal of your site, get in touch and we’ll take a look.
Building for screen size is only part of the job. There are new browsers and new versions of browsers coming online all the time, a big issue for us is compatibly and we spend a lot of time making sure our websites work flawlessly on all browsers. What works well in Chrome might not work so well in Internet Explorer… but that is for a future blog post…
Take a look at a few of the responsive sites we've built recently: