Responsive Web Design
With the many tactics, techniques and initials that rule the realm of online marketing, it can seem a bit much to keep up with them all. One important aspect that should not be overlooked when appraising your online savvy, is the important approach called ‘Responsive Web Design’.
Responsive Web Design is a way websites are designed to ‘respond’ to the browser or device on which they are being displayed and adjust the parameters of the page’s elements accordingly. This means that whether the page is being viewed on a small 4”mobile device screen, a PC with an 18” screen or even an oversized screen, the web page will still be displayed with crisp quality and correct layout.
What Does Responsive Web Design Look Like?
The big idea behind responsive web site is to avoid the need for a website dedicated to PC or laptop devices and another for mobile devices and such. Having one site that can be displayed across all devices and platforms is far more efficient — and provides a seamless quality that appears far more professional.
Take for example the common “fixed” website, when th9is page is displayed on your ordinary laptop screen, you may see content displayed in three neat columns. When this same page is opened on a smaller mobile device, suddenly there is a slide bar and the user must shift to the right and left to view the full page.
The page may also decide to leave out certain elements or the elements might be distorted to fit them in the small display. This gets even more tricky with tablets and devices that can switch their display when held horizontally or vertically — many online consumers find this off putting.
Displays on smaller devices have an even harder time with the website’s visual layout. Large elements have a funny way of breaking out of their margins and distorting neighboring elements. Pages can take a full half hour to load (bad for business), especially on sites with heavy graphic designs.
With a responsive design however the website will snap itself into two column mode when being displayed on a device that will not properly display all three columns. On an even smaller device, one column mode may be necessary, images will also resize themselves to be viewed on a page.
The page can also be set to swipe vertically in either direction for increased user convenience. In the end, responsive web design is all about making the site adjustable for all platforms and devices, so that layout and usability are ensured.
How Does Responsive Web Design Work?
As opposed to ‘fixed’ sites that have defined margins set by pixel counts, the responsive web sites use a more fluid grid system in which the elements are laid out by proportions rather than a given number of pixels. In other words, they are arranged not by how wide or long they should be, but how long and wide they should be in relation to the other elements.
If column 1 takes up 30% of the page, column 2 will take up 40% and column 3 the remaining 30%, for example. Media content is also sized relatively, this way they won’t burst out of their confines.
Why is it so Important for Small Businesses to Switch to Responsive Web Design?
With more and more people using mobile devices to connect to the web, it is important to consider the amount of customers that could be lost in translation, or rather in the confusion that UN-responsive web design can cause.
Surveys show that over 45% of all adult Americans own mobile devices, smart phones are far more popular than regular cellphones and tablet growth is on the rise.
Check the traffic to your site with any free marketing analytic tool and you will be surprised at how much traffic to your site is coming in from mobile devices. (In Google Analytics, find “Analytics” in the left column, then find the “mobile “ tag that will tell you how much traffic is on mobile devices.
There are more responsive web design templates available than anyone can shake a stick at. Those working with WordPress sites have access to the sites from Theme Forest, where many layouts and themes can be purchased for a s little as $50.00. These can be taken to the Web Developer you are working with and adapted to your needs specifically.