Responsive web design has become a buzz phrase that rests on the hot bed of effective web design. For those of you that may not be familiar with the phrase, responsive web design, in simple, is the concept and process of developing websites so that they are responsive and compatible across all devices. In other words, one site would be able to be viewed in full on desktops, tablets, and smartphones.
With this concept users have access to the full experience, whereas before, users of mobile devices could only access limited information or switch to the full site option and struggle with screen navigation. With Responsive Web Design, the site is designed to present the complete viewing experience irregardless to the type of device being used.
As with anything, there are limitations, but as a general rule, responsive web design has the capability and potential to be an exceptional solution for most business websites. Over the next several paragraphs we will discuss, in brief, some of the benefits of using a responsive website.
One of the simplest yet impactful benefits of using a responsive website is the fact that visitors to your site will get the full experience of visiting your site, irregardless to the type of device being used. A great deal of thought goes into the development of any site. Everything from, color, content, reader appeal, and more is considered. When you think of the fact that a huge amount of the visitors to your site will be using some sort of mobile device which could limit their view and experience on a traditional site, a responsive website simply makes sense.
With a traditional site, a user that visits that site from a mobile device would find limit exposure to the content on that site. For a long time there was a pervasive myth that stood on the belief that users of mobile devices only desired access to limited information. Overtime we have learned that this is just not true, plus for those that only need access to limited information, it impossible to predict what information they would be seeking. With the responsive web design the mobile user can access your site and have the same viewing experience as the user of a desktop.
We have also learned that Responsive Web Design is a better option when considering SEO. Instead of redirecting mobile users to a different site, all of the information and content is served from one location. Even Google has weighed in to say that responsive web design is the best practice.
“Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.”
You have to believe that the fact that Google is recommending responsive design is indicative that it has to be better for SEO functionality.
Another benefit of responsive design is that it is easier to read. Instead of having to attempt to zoom in and out to manage through a reading experience, the content is organized to make the reading experience more fluid.
Another thing to consider is the fact that the mobile device no longer only includes smart phones, but the tablet industry has exploded. It is now estimated that over 50 million Americans own tablets. Responsive web design will allow your business to meet the need of all of these users.
Chad McComsey is lead designer and co-founder of MIND Development and Design in Lancaster, PA and enjoys time with his wife Maria and dogs Buddy Winston and Mazzy when he’s not creating waycool graphics and web design.