Responsive Web Design

— This article was written in July 2012, by now (early 2014) the predictions have been proven true and in some cases the prevalence of mobile devices has surpassed the experts expectations. Soon we will be updating the statistical information in this page. One thing is very clear Responsive design is not just a trend but a new need created by the evolution of technology.

Responsive web design is the new standard.

"...Perhaps you’re on your morning commute, tapping through pages on your phone, or swiping along on a tablet. Or maybe you don’t even see these words as I do: maybe your computer is simply reading this book aloud. Ultimately, I know so little about you. I don’t know how you’re reading this. I can’t."

With these words Ethan Marcotte—The man that coined the term Responsive Web Design starts his book. Those simple words hold the clues about the whole paradigm change in web design...

What is it?

Responsive web design refers to the techniques of designing and developing websites that dynamically present a customised interface to suit different devices (mobile, tablet, laptop and desktop browsers) served from the same site, without need for a separate mobile domain. The result is that all visitors have an enhanced user experience regardless of what device or platform they are using to access the website.

Why is important?

More and more people are using mobile devices to access the Internet.  There is a growing number of consumer opting for small screen devices such as netbooks and tablets,while at the other end of the scale 27 and 30 inch displays have become as common.

So the old approach "one size fits all" is no longer appropriate. It goes beyond just screen sizes, user experience and behaviour are different as well.

If a website is to capture the attention of the visitor and make the user experience a positive one, the site has to adapt to the device the visitor has chosen to  browse the Internet with and provide a customised experience for that device without compromise. But what device is that? We don't know. The stats tell us of a very interesting trend, phone browsing has risen 50% to 11.78% in the past 12 months, during the same period desktop browsing fell from 93.6% to 88.23% is interesting to note that Internet Explorer 6 sits at 1.3% percent at the moment. (Source: Global Stats http://gs.statcounter.com)

In February  this year Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook announced at Goldman Sachs that tablets will overtake PC sales by the end of 2012. The prediction is that by early 2013 mobile browsing will account for almost 50% of all browsing. In other words chances are that one in two visitors to your website will do so using a mobile device.  Anyone who has tried to use an unoptimized desktop-formatted site on  phone has experienced the frustration of scrolling and zooming to find what they need. From the user perspective the advantages of Responsive Web design are very clear, and there are more for the website owner:

  • Only one URL (yoursite.com.au) and only one site to maintain
  • Better SEO (search engine optimization) because search engines only find one site, instead of multiple, meaning higher search results.
  • Your site carries the same information across all platforms
  • Early adopters of the new technology will have an advantageous edge over the competition that lags behind
  • The company's image will be enhanced as modern and technologically up to date.

Hopefully by now you have a clearer understanding on why is important to upgrade your web presence to cater for mobile devices, contact us today for a free one hour consultation on your web strategy.

 

"Today, we’ve got desktops, notebooks, netbooks, tablets, and handhelds of every size, dimension, and resolution. ..... The variety of devices demands responsive design."

CMSCritic.com (January 2013)