I’d like you take a moment and think of all the different screens you look at every day. Particularly those you might use the internet on. Even being conservative, you might think of a computer monitor, your phone, maybe your television, and possibly some sort of tablet device.
Next think about ALL the possible devices that can access the internet. Kiosks at the airport, portable gaming devices, accessories like the T-Hub, and even fridges and other appliances. Not to mention the vast range of phones and tablets currently in the marketplace.
Finally, have a think about how your website looks and behaves on all those screens.
These are important things to be asking if your website is going to be an efficient and powerful communication tool.
Many mobile and tablet devices do a pretty good job of scaling a website so it fits without having to scroll around the page. But in doing so they make the text tiny – meaning you have to zoom in and scroll around anyway. In a lot of cases this is far from ideal.
Thankfully, Responsive Design is here to make your life easier.
Responsive design is a relatively new addition to the tool belt of the web designer/developer. There are a number of technical aspects (there are some references at the end of this article), but the important thing for you and your own website is this.
Responsive Design means your website appears optimised for the best possible experience on whichever device and screen size you view it on.
Rather than having a separate app or site for mobiles, tablets or other devices, it simply changes the layout (and things like text and image sizes) to suit the device.
So why is this so great? Here’s 5 reasons.
Having a design the adapts to suit the device it is being viewed on means it will be much easier to use. No more zooming and scrolling, no more crazy drop-down menus that are too big to use. Just a site that tells you want you want to know with no mucking about.
Producing a website as well as mobile apps for multiple devices can be an expensive undertaking. A Responsive website is a much more budget conscious decisions – usually costing a fraction more (for additional development time) than a non-responsive site.
Mobile apps, and separate mobile sites are sometimes a great way to serve information to those on mobile devices. But it also means writing and maintaining all your copy in multiple places at once. When using Responsive Design the same site is served to all devices, meaning you only have to keep it updated in one place.
At a smaller screen size, you can’t show as much on the page. By necessity this forces you to focus down on what the important aspects of the site are. And if those are important to people on a small screen, its fair to say they are important to everyone. In that sense, thinking of a Responsive Design is a really helpful way to help narrow and refine the focus of your site.
A site that is Responsively Designed is ready for the future. The flexible nature of the site means that it will display nicely on any current device (whatever size) but also future devices in what are sure to be an array of bigger, smaller and weirder sizes.
The bottom line is that if you are currently thinking of redoing your current site – Responsive Design is at least worth a closer look. It can be a great, cost effective way to make sure ALL your users have the best possible experience.
Interested in learning more about the technical side of Responsive Design? I’d get started with reading:
This article was written for, and originally posted over at Communicate Jesus. Thanks to Steve for the opportunity to write for the site, and to repost it here.
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