With our increasingly busy lives and ever-growing interest in all things “gadget” related, it’s easy to see why 83% percent of all US households with an annual income of $75,000 or more now have smart phones. When you consider the purchasing power of this demographic, it is easy to see why it is crucial for businesses to have a mobile friendly version of their website. With new smartphones and tablets coming out on a regular basis it’s nearly impossible to predict what type of devices will be coming to your website. Creating a website version for each new device would be impractical at best, but in reality, it’s impossible for companies to shoulder an expense such as this. Should businesses just suffer the consequences of losing visitors to their web sites who are not using a compatible technology, or is there another option?
Responsive Web design is the approach that allows a web site’s design and functionality to respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform, and orientation. Because of its fluid nature, responsive web design has become the go-to strategy for updating websites to make them user friendly for the masses. Responsive web design eliminates the need for a different design and development phase for each new gadget on the market. However, as with any new technology, there are best practices that must be adhered to. It’s important that your web developer understands where responsive design excels, where it might fall short, and what the best approach is for your business.
Here is a list of the benefits derived from responsive web design:
- Imagery and content automatically adjusts to every screen
- Accessibility exists across multiple devices
- It is easier to edit and maintain content
- You have only one site that needs to be maintained and updated
- With only one design to create and develop, it is more economical
- Search engines like it because all users and their activity is directed to a single URL
- With proper server side coding, images are re-purposed for faster load times
Perhaps the only drawback to responsive web design is that web banner ads would need to be created in responsive sizes so they too can react to the fluid nature of the web site. As with all technologies, responsive web design in not backward compatible to some of the older devices, but those devices are rapidly being replaced due to the limitations the owners often face when trying to use them for mobile web access.
Responsive design offers many benefits to marketers and is evolving as the standard for mobile web development. However, depending on your vertical market, a non-responsive mobile site might better suit your needs. Before choosing a responsive approach, it’s important to understand its nuances, and evaluate how it fits into your overall web strategy. We will be happy to sit down with you to help you decide if a responsive design is right for you, and we hope that the above information provides you with a little background to help with the decision process. Don’t hesitate to contact us today!
Authored by Andrew Mueller, Senior Web Developer