How Responsive Web Design Could Help your Business

Responsive_Web_DesignThe amount of websites that utilise responsive web design is growing with the increasing amount of devices people can access the web from. We want to tell you all about responsive web design so that your website doesn’t get left behind in the dust of this rapidly adopted web designtrend. With people using laptops, tablets, smartphones and varying sized desktop screens, it is important to ensure that your website responds to the technology it is accessed from. A non-responsive website sticks out like a sore thumb in the quickly evolving web-world.

Responsive web design is simply the ability of a website to change its format to correspond to the device it is accessed from. On a more complicated level the tool can enable web designers to provide different content for different users; for example, by accessing the user location a website can tailor information to them on a geographical basis.

The growth in smart phones means that more often people are using websites on smaller screens and if the website is non-responsive it makes navigation around said website extremely difficult. For example; a traditional fixed width screen can cause a user to have to scroll horizontally to view content that was intended to be seen at first sight. If you can believe it, the current attention span for humans using the web is now less than a goldfish; meaning webpages must be both engaging and easy to use to be effective . A non-responsive, ill-fitting format will cause frustration and repel many users, meaning that the crucial messages websites need to transmit to users are not received.

If you don’t believe us, check out your websites stats on Google analytics; you can find out how many users are accessing your website via their cell phones by selecting the ‘Audience’ option, then ‘Mobile’. The time is now to change your website design as the amount of people accessing the web from different devices is only going to increase in this technology driven world.

The good news is, transforming your website into a responsive design is not as complicated as it sounds! There are two options for implementing responsive web design; creating an adaptive website with multiple fixed width layouts set for common devices, or, using multiple fluid grid layouts to achieve a truly responsive user experience. Most web designers will use fixed width layouts if they want more control over how the website will look on different screen sizes, however, this approach does not respond to change in browser size - a common practice of web-users who want to view multiple browser windows at the same time. Fluid grid layouts work on the basis of proportions rather than pixels and the content changes according to browser size. Web content is given a percentage of the browser or screen to take up; as the size of the viewing window changes the content continues to take up it’s assigned percentage of the browser responding to it’s viewing environment. You can even utilise both concepts with a mixed approach to responsive design; having some fixed width layouts for certain devices and some fluid grid layouts for others.

In implementing responsive design there are a few things to think about. The first is that graphics can cause a website to be slower to load on certain devices, so when designing a web-platform to be accessed from cell-phones or tablets with lower capability, it might be wiser to remove or downsize on images, graphics and advertisements. The popularity of touch screens means that there are now two navigation routes to consider; touch and mouse. What may work well for the click of a mouse could be a nightmare for somebody with not-so dainty digits.

It’s that simple, and with the populations’ increasing reliance on technology and high-speed culture, being able to access the information you need, on the go, is a luxury many aren’t willing to live without. The integration of laptops, tablets and smartphones into everyday life has made Responsive Design a necessity for websites that want universal exposure.

Now you may be thinking all this talk of cell-phone and tablet usage means that you should be thinking about creating an application, and this is indeed something to consider. Our take on this decision is that a responsive website may be the better option in terms of universal compatibility. This is because the application world is fickle; often certain brands will only work with apps from certain platforms. With the iOS and android faceoff going down, to allow both apple and android users access to your app, double the work may be required. Having a responsive website guarantees that all devices that have access to the Internet will be able to use your site. Wonderful! No more taking sides.

While vamping up your website it might be a good idea to consider including some other current web design trends. Long scrolling is the new thing in website navigation; the effort exerted through clicking can sometimes be too much! Websites that take the user on an intuitive narrative journey through scrolling; up, down and side-to-side are sought after and savvy. Where the bold and bright colours may have been hip and eye catching yesterday tomorrows request is light and subtle hues. With so much time spent staring at a screen nowadays it can be nice to find yourself looking at a website that is not an assault on the senses. Lastly to get personality into a website and make meaningful connections add simple animations - you might even make somebody laugh!

Responsive web design is a win-win tool as it means ease of use for users and better communication from website beneficiaries.

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