It was just over 6 months ago that Google announced that their world-leading search engine results would be making a big shift in favor of responsive websites. Since then, a lot of companies (including several of our own clients) have changed their approach to their online presence. But because it’s still a newer trend, we often get the question “What IS Responsive Web Design?”
So here are the basics:
Responsive Web Design (RWD) optimizes your website depending on the type of device being used to access it. So that means…
- Site design automatically resizes and adjusts for desktop and laptop monitors vs mobile phones and tablets. No need to scroll or stretch or skew unnecessarily
- Links are easily accessible even in small-space formats – which means appropriate spacing on small screens
- Seamless form submissions across platforms – allowing for easy keyboard entry as well as interactive system pop-ups for completing forms and fields
- Integrated browser add-ons or app functionality – if your customers need to download a PDF file, they should be able to do so regardless of the device – however desktops and laptops can add this functionality to browsers, and the Adobe app may be better for mobile devices.
Basics aside, RWD is also based in a number of technical aspects that aren’t often integrated into “standard” or templated websites. These are:
- Proportion based grids – essentially the fluid sizing element that scales design automatically by using percentages or proportions rather than static pixels or points
- Flexible images – also sized in relative units so they change when the rest of the site does
- CSS3 media queries – which is how sites “know” what size screen users are viewing the site on
- Implementation of different URLs (such as /mobile) to ensure ideal UX for any platform.
So it’s a bunch of small things that add up to a big impact… but that doesn’t mean you should consider doing some responsive upgrades and not others. The truth is, there’s no downside to making your website more user-friendly – only upsides like increased traffic, better sales, and more repeat visits.