Web Design Articles

Responsive Web Design

By Adrian Stein

Over the past several years, the usage of smaller devices to access the internet has exploded. Enter "responsive" web design. A simple explanation of this is that a website is built so that responds to the size of the device. So, for example, rather than using the old "pinch and zoom" technique (and squinting your eyes) to view a large website on a small device, the site detects your screen size and serves up a slightly modified version of the website that is optimised especially for you. 

Originally it was quite common to build separate mobile and desktop versions of your website, however this is becoming less and less common as media queries have made it very easy to use techniques which allow the website to adapt to the circumstance. This is fantastic news for your website users, as it provides a much better user experience overall, which at the end of the day means happier customers and more conversions. The other great thing about a responsive design is that we can also provide several different "break" points to optimise the site for someone viewing your site on several different devices in both portrait and landscape orientation (e.g. a mobile phone turned sideways, or a small tablet turned lengthways). From a content management perspective, this is also fantastic, because you only have one website to manage!

We've been preaching the gospel of responsive for a little while now, and it's becoming more and more crucial that businesses see the value in catering to the needs of their audience. At the core of your website's success is its ability to make people happy, which means helping them find what they want, fast. In my opinion, there's no better way to do this than to provide a well-planned responsive design that takes into consideration the size of their device and the different needs of people using it. For example, on a stripped back mobile version of your website, you'd be smart to display your phone number or opening hours as a priority over a bulky image slider, which is very unlikely to be relevant or very usable to someone browsing on a tiny device. On the other hand, someone browsing on a large screen will of course have the luxury of scanning a large screen to find what they're looking for. What's more, Google have indicated that they will favour websites which are developed to be mobile responsive.

In summary, I'd suggest taking a look at your website traffic data to see what kind of devices people are using to access your website, and think about what sort of experience they're getting. If you've got a high level of traffic from smaller devices, and a high bounce rate from those users, you should be looking at responsive. 

If you'd like a quote on responsive web design or have any questions, please feel free to get in touch