Responsive Website – What It Is, Why You Need It

Responsive Website

Everyone expects a responsive website whenever they are online.

A ‘responsive website’ is one that delivers the visitor a pleasant visual and functional experience regardless of whether they are using a desktop, laptop, tablet or modern mobile phone.  Any web designer worth hiring has the knowledge, skills and tools to produce a fully functional site to make sure users aren’t immediately horrified by skewed text and images or pages that are oversized or super small.

Why is a responsive website import to your business?

Having a website designed with responsiveness in mind has the following advantages:

  • Avoid frustrating or scaring your potential customers away.
  • Ensuring you protect your brand and prove you are a modern business.
  • Provide a consistent user experience when clients use multiple devices.
  • Your customers are more likely to buy or contact you (or whatever your site goal is).

How do you make sure you get a responsive website for your business ?

Was your current website built before the relatively recent boom in the smart phones? This means that it is not going to look great on iPhones and Android devices.  Internet usage on mobile phones has overtaken the desktop and there’s no sign of reversal.  It’s going to grow so your business has to get with the times if your website hasn’t been upgraded for a while.  While creating responsive website is not as hard as it used to be it can still be time-consuming.  There is more development and testing required but you must make it clear to your developer that responsiveness is a must-have.

How does responsive web design work?

I won’t go into too much detail as you probably don’t care about the technical aspects but  it’s important to have a basic understanding when talking with your web designer.  The 3 key components are:

Having a fluid layout.

This allows the web page to contract and expand with the browser owing to being percentage based.  In the past, page columns had hard-coded widths (in pixels) which would be rendered as such regardless of the size of the screen in use.  In fluid layout a page set to 100% would show a scaled full screen on any device.

Images have to responsive.

Responsive Images shrink and grow according to a user’s browser which best fits the web page. While not always easy to do, web designers will try images at various sizes to optimise performance.  This is also important for search engine visibility.  When using very large images it will take a long time to load on devices that have a slower internet connection.  Most people won’t wait long these days before giving up and trying your competitor’s site.  Sometimes Javascript can used to display a lower resolution on slow connections.

Media queries need to be considered.

These allow device specific rules to be applied.  This could include hiding, increasing, moving or showing content to allow for a better end-user experience.  This is used to make sure specific devices display properly.  For example an image that looks great on a big screen is coded to not show on an iPhone.

Have an older site that doesn’t look great on modern smart devices? Perhaps it’s time for a Homepage Reno.  Get in touch soon and we’ll take a look for you and advise on the opportunities open to you.

 

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