Responsive Web Design – What, Why, How

If you read about web design these days you are bound to come across this term. So we’d like to help clear up the important stuff on this new trend which really is an essential in any new website these days. I’m going to try to clear up any confusion about the idea!

So.. what is a Responsive website anyway?

Responsive Web Design
Well to put it in really simple terms, if you look at a website on a mobile device (phone, tablet, etc) it should display correctly. It needs to be easy to read and a doddle to use. Obviously a site will not display in the same way across different screen sizes, but each device should display a usable version of the website for your user. A site that does this, seamlessly, is a responsive website.

To test a  website has a responsive web design, if you open the site in your browser on laptop/pc and resize the browser window, you should see the website change to suit the size of the browser window. This is different to a mobile friendly website, which detects that the device is a mobile one and loads a different set of pages or styling (css). Mobile friendly websites work reasonably well, but Responsive websites truly respond to the screen size and react accordingly, which means that they should display nicely on any screen size.

And why should I have a Responsive web design for MY website?

This is a simple one. If you think any of your users will view your website on a mobile device, and if you want every visitor to the site to have a great experience during their visit, then you need to opt for a responsive web design for your website.

Almost 7 BILLION users have a mobile phone subscription. Over 2.3 BILLION users have mobile broadband (32%), compared to 711 million (9.8%) who are using fixed broadband. When your customer is looking for your service, there is a good chance that they are going to pull out a phone or tablet and search for you there rather than logging onto their laptop. Mobile search is faster, more convenient and are available in your users’ pockets whenever you need it. This is why a quarter of all searches carried out take place on mobile devices.

So what happens when a potential customer opens your website on their mobile phone. Do they have a responsive web design is less frustratinggreat user experience, find all the relevant info quickly and easily, move around your website without any problems… or do they get frustrated and quickly leave due to your website being slow to load, awkward to navigate or not displaying correctly on their device. A frustrated user is a user who is gone from your home page faster than they arrived, which is lost business for you.

With a responsive web design, it should be as convenient to find information and the all important contact details as it would be on a full size screen. You want your customer to load your site, fast, find out about you, fast, decide to contact you and follow through on that decision, fast! When a person searches for something on a mobile device, fast is key!

On our responsive website designs we include a “Call Us!” button, which your visitor can click on a smartphone to call you straightaway – no pen and paper, no copy and paste. Make it as easy as possible for your customer to get in touch with you once they’ve found you!

responsive web design photoGoogle assesses user experience as one of the criteria is uses to rank search results, so a responsive site will get a good user experience rating and improve on search engine results. Google has recently started using a “Mobile-friendly” label in searches on mobile devices, which shows searchers whether your site will display correctly for them. So users are even less likely to visit your site if it is not at least mobile friendly and preferably responsive. If you want to check whether your site is compatible, you can either do a search for your site on a mobile device or use this Google tool, which even gives a preview of how your site will look on the smaller mobile screen.

If you are selling on your website, then all of this becomes even more critical to your success. If you get a visitor to your site on a mobile search, you need to make sure they are comfortable on the site and purchasing your goods/services. They are unlikely to come back to your site later when they are on a pc. The better your site looks on mobile, the more comfortable your visitors are likely to feel in making a purchase via your website on the move.

What about the how? How do I get a Responsive website?

This is all about the code. A website which has a responsive web design figures out the size of the screen that the browser is sitting on and adjusts your site accordingly. It resizes images, adjusts text and modifies menus so that your site fits correctly on the screen size available.

639303e211cd8724c3ca0b29_150_codingTo do this yourself, you can enter the world of PHP, HTML, CSS and write all of the code yourself. Or, if you’re using a tool like WordPress to build your site, you can install a responsive theme and customise to suit your needs. If none of this appeals, why not save yourself some time and call in the professionals? A responsive site will only look as good as the design on the site itself, so if you need help to make sure that your design is optimised and responsive, give us a shout:

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No matter how you go about creating a responsive web design, it is key that you test the website on as many devices as possible so that you get the view of the site that your visitors will have. This goes for any aspect of web design, it is also important to test on different browsers for example.

So what’s going to replace Responsive Web Design?

Well although it’s always dangerous to predict the future, the signs seem to be indicating that the next big thing will be Adjustive Web Design. This will combine Responsive Web Design with Adaptive Web Design, which aims to change the look of your content depending on the screen size of your reader. So your website will look different on each screen size to fit the elements in, and to make them clear and easy to ready on each device.

In addition, readers will be able to drag items around to set your website up in a way that they like for viewing and for reading your content. This is something that might appeal to some people right now, however it is thought that the appeal will increase as we continue to change the devices that we use and where we use them. For example, wearables like watches which are internet enabled will require a completely different display for your website.

In conclusion…

  • Internet users are increasingly using mobile devices to run searches. This is a natural side effect of the shift to smartphones and mobile broadband.
  • It is important to ensure that a visitor to your site who is viewing on a smaller screen has a great experience
  • A visitor who has a great experience, doesn’t bounce away from your site to your competitor and trusts your site more so will buy from you there and then
  • A responsive site makes sure that the user experience is great on any screen size, every website should now be responsive.

Contact Coppertops to see how we can help you with any aspect of your website design or redesign. All of our website packs include a responsive design.

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[Stats on mobile usage sourced from MobiForge]

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Responsive Web Design

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