What is responsive web design? If you've heard anything about web design in the last five years, you've probably heard the term "responsive web design" or "mobile-friendly." But what does that really mean? And what does it mean for you and your website? To find out, stay tuned!
what is responsive design?
It's when your website design adapts to fit any screen size that the user has - whether it be a laptop, a mobile device, or a tablet. It works by coding your website so that your content and layout are flexible. What does that mean?
Imagine taking a can of Pepsi and pouring it into a glass. It's the same soda, but it's going to conform to the shape of the glass. In responsive design, your web design is like the Pepsi; it's fluid. It's going to conform to whatever device you're using.
How can you tell if you have a responsive design?
Here's an easy test. On a desktop or laptop, go to your website. Make sure your browser window is not fullscreen. Then, grab the edge of the window with your mouse and click and drag to resize it. If the content on your website moves and rearranges when you change the size of the window, it's probably responsive. If everything stays the same, it's probably not mobile-friendly.
Why do you need a responsive design?
A mobile-friendly site is not an option anymore. Google looks at whether your website design is optimized for mobile, and responsive design plays a big part in that. If your web design isn't mobile-friendly, you're not going to rank as high in mobile search.
Also, you don't want to have multiple website designs. In the early days, people would have one site for desktop and one site for mobile. Now there are a hundred different types of phones and tablets and you don't want hundreds of different websites that you're going to have to customize every time a new device or phone comes out.
Responsive design is one size fits all. It fits every device type, so you only need one website.
What does responsive design mean for you and your website design?
Here are three things to keep in mind.
1: Don't treat your web design like a brochure
A brochure is static. Everything comes out exactly the same, every time.
Responsive design is dynamic. You can't expect everything to be exactly the same. A picture may go below a headline, or a headline may break into two lines. Change and flexibility is necessary for responsive design to work.
2: Design for slow connections
Just because you have a super-fast connection at your office doesn't mean people are using that same super-fast connection to look at your website.
Fancy animations and video backgrounds are great for the desktop, but they take SO long to load for mobile. Don't use resource-hogging features, so you can keep your design light and fast.
3: Be "fat finger" friendly.
Have you ever tried to close a popup ad on your mobile device and you try to click the "X" and you end up clicking on the ad anyway? Affectionately called fat fingering, it's just one of many accessibility issues.
Responsive design needs to be easy to use on any type and size of device. Resist the temptation to cram as much information as you can on to a page. White space can be your friend, especially on a mobile device. White space can make a mobile device much easier to use.
Responsive design is a proven and cost-effective solution to making your website design mobile-friendly. If your website isn't responsive, that's a problem, but we can help! In many cases, we can give you a responsive design without redesigning your entire website. Give us a call or contact us via our website for a free consultation or a quote.
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