Responsive Web Design – what is it and why should I use it?

Responsive website design is one of the hottest trends this year, three years after the phrase was initially coined and designers started to be aware of the opportunity here. For website designers, it is becoming clear that the popularity and requirement for a responsive design will continue grow as we move forward and mobile technology advances. Clients are starting to become more aware of what responsive design is, and the advantages of it are clear to see from a user perspective.

The primary purpose of responsive website design is to make a website display in a different way depending on the device it is viewed on. More than just making the website change when you reduce the size of your browser window, it is about how your website actually responds to different display settings and resolutions to ensure that your user has the best experience no matter what device or size screen they are visiting your website on.

As opposed to having specific mobile (and tablet, games console etc) versions of your website, having just the one responsive design will reduce the effort required to create and maintain multiple iterations. Your design will automatically be futureproof ready for the new smartphone launches we see with increasing frequency, as the flexibility to fit within the specifications of each new device is already there.

What do I need to consider in responsive design?

The temptation may be there to just move your content around the page until it fits a smaller screen, but is that really what the user would find the most helpful? With smartphones being used increasingly to browse the internet, designers need to be considering the mobile navigation of their sites and how images and content will be used from a phone. This should mean that, as an example, the number of columns visible at any time should adjust to the size of screen that your page is being viewed on. Mobile-pertinent content needs to take the lead when your website is being viewed on a mobile phone!

With the adoption of new CSS3 standards making this adaptation more straightforward, we really do see responsive design as something that will only increase in importance as the prominence of smartphones rises.

If we can help you with your new website, please get in touch.