What is Responsive Web Design?

Websites have evolved quickly in the past two decades since their inception. As the internet has moved from its dry academic beginnings to their modern multifunctional, on demand focus that pervades everyday life.

In recent years the range of devices that deliver us our websites has exploded with the laptop being superseded by the tablet and mobile phone for convenient browsing on the move. This created a headache for web developers as they could no longer so easily predict the screen size, resolution or even the browser a site would be viewed with.

The answer... Responsive Web Design.

Responsive Web Design refers to a method of website design and delivery that allows a site to flex and fill the available space regardless. Whether the visitor is using a high-end widescreen PC or their mobile the same site should deliver its content effectively as possible.

The smaller the space available the more the site works to deliver the content effectively.  

The smaller the viewing space available:

  • Navigation, text and images contract and realign.
  • Branding remains prominent.

As the available space decreases further:

  • Navigation collapses to take up less space.
  • Images and text realign further into a single column to retain readability. 


Benefits of responsive web design for the User:

You might have stumbled upon a responsive site without realising or found one of your favourite sites latest redesign was executed with responsive in mind. That is part of the beauty of responsive web design it provides everyone with an optimal experience across as many platforms as possible.

A notable example is the popular online science and technology blog IO9 (www.io9.com) which in the past year switched to a responsive web design. If you are at a PC or Mac go visit, resize the site in your browser and watch it adapt to the space provided. The smaller the width you give it the more it flexes to deliver the content in a usable fashion. Now try it on your tablet or mobile, looks a little different doesn’t it, notice how the same content from the same site has formatted to the available space.

For the Site Owner:

The old adage of “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” is just as applicable to a website. You work hard and pay to promote your site to potential visitors and just because they use their mobile to check you out shouldn’t mean your site should be a jumble or difficult to use. Hoping they might remember you when they sit down at a PC just doesn’t make sense. 

The Ecommerce Site Owner:

Think of your site as a store front on an infinitely long high-street. If your store looks a mess while next door looks pristine it doesn’t matter that the same goods cost more at your competitor if you fail to inspire confidence. The biggest block an online retailer has to closing a sale is a website customers think twice about using their credit-card with.

With a responsive site you have the assurance that the developer has given you the best possible storefront on as many platforms as possible.

The Nitty-gritty

Responsive sites are not hard to create but to be implemented correctly they do require the approach be factored in right from the start of development. 

At Comgem we approach every project with responsive web design in mind. We retain the high level functionality of Content Management System integration (CMS), so site owners can manage all their content online where ever and whenever they choose, while making their site as accessible as possible to both users and search engines.

So when you decide to take your business online, or bringing your old site up to date, make sure your developer is taking to you about responsive website design.

By Alanna at 27 Feb 2014, 10:09 AM