We are living through a golden age of mobile technology that allows us to communicate. explore and shop anywhere we go, right from the palm of our hands. Mobile phones have put a twist on the way website layouts are now designed. Previously, layouts had mobile problems with the overflowing of content, overlapping of images and text being too small to read. That is until the advent of responsive web design.
What Exactly Is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive web design, or RWD, is a framework pattern for making websites and web pages adapt to provide better navigation and user experience across mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and smaller notebook computers. Depending on the device being used, the layout of sections and elements shift their positions to fit the screen size. Mobile users have steadily grown over the years to become to dominant share of todays web traffic. It is no surprise that search engine giants such as Google and Bing have taken this factor onboard into their search algorithms. Having a responsive website is now considered a must if you want your business or service to rank high on page 1 of the search results.
As you can see in the example above, elements of the Southport Market website behave differently according to the device used. Some elements are designed to go the full width of the screen while other items readjust and “stack”. Font size also adjusts accordingly and special graphics may or may not appear depending on the space available.
Responsive web design should not be confused with adaptive web design, another technique used to deliver content across a variety of by loading a specific layout template for each screen size. Pages that are optimised for responsive web design will scale the elements as the screen viewport grows or shrinks. This is particularly noticeable on hybrid devices which can behave like a traditional computer but have a folding or flip mechanism to make them more portable.
How Does Responsive Web Design Benefit My Business?
There are a number of reasons why having a responsive website can benefit your business. Google has now adopted a “mobile-first” approach to web design to ensure content is accessible to users. Ensuring that page layouts are stacking correctly on mobile is favoured by Google and will earn your site more authority and reputation as time goes on.
Next are the costs. You would normally have to pay an additional cost for a mobile version of your website to sit alongside the traditional version and handle the ongoing maintenance fees for both versions. However with responsive web design the same content is served over a a single site with one adaptive layout. This brings the cost down significantly as there is less optimisation needed to adjust aesthetics and the overall layout. With the rise of ecommerce, online goods can also be purchased directly from responsive websites eliminating the need for businesses to invest solely in a separate mobile application.
There is also further flexibility that can be introduced across the site. If a new page or section is needed in the layout, it will only need to be added in once. The same applies to changes in content. Replacing old media or copy means that the new variants and wording will be shown on the mobile version of the site too.
The user experience of the website will also be improved. If someone visits your pages on a mobile device, they can potentially load faster, as there will likely be sections and content that don’t need to be served on mobile. This can reduce or even completely eliminate the need to scroll through a lot of unnecessary information and keep your visitors around for much longer on the page. The overall lasting impression that visitors will get will be more positive and will keep them coming back. Pages will also load much faster if resource draining elements are not shown. For example a large video banner that might be shown on a traditional screen could be replaced with a fallback image that is much smaller in file size.
With responsive web design there is also the chance to experiment with new layouts and concepts and get a feel for how each device and their browser agents treats the page. Where one component might work well on a smartphone, it might be less visually appealing on a larger device. This gives developers the opportunity to consider best practices for each device.
Standards And Frameworks To Help With Responsive Web Design
There are a number of standards and frameworks that are available to developers to aid in responsive web design. The bootstrap framework is a popular tool that contains a number of pre-built components and a grid layout system, that allows developers to quickly build and prototype website layouts that work across a number of devices. The CSS web standard also has a number of built in display layouts and queries to make components responsive to different screen sizes. The @media rule for defining how elements behave at different breakpoints as well as the flexbox and grid layouts are all used alongside the HTML standard to shape the layout of pages.
These technologies integrate well with popular content management systems such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, which give more control to the end-user on modifying certain aspects of their site. For example the design of a site logo might be changed by the end user but the position in which it will sit will always remain the same.
Make The Shift And Get Your Website Responsive Today!
With more and more mobile devices being sold each year, the market continues to grow. If your website look is outdated and needs refresh, or if you would like a new website but don’t know where to begin then the team at Blue Cow Digital can help breath new life into your online presence and get more traffic flowing to your pages. Our friendly team have the experience under their belts give your business the boost it needs online. You can view our various web packages on the website so what are you waiting for? Stand out from the herd and get in touch with us today!