What is Responsive Web Design and why should you have it?

What is Responsive Web Design and why should you have it?

We tweeted this week about the recent report which revealed that 70% of first-time Internet users in China surf the web on a mobile device (Source: China Internet Network Information Center). 

By next year it’s expected that globally, mobile Internet use will surpass web access via desktops. Clearly the oncoming wave of mobile Internet usage is a tsunami – so if you want to embrace it you’ll need one site designed for computers and another version adapted for mobiles, right?

But wait...with the diversity of web-enabled devices around – PC’s, laptops, smart phones, tablets, mini iPads, smart TVs and who knows what next, each with their own screen sizes and resolutions - designing a one-size-fits-all website is virtually impossible - so how many versions of your website would you need?!  

Well, if your website is Responsive you’ll need just the one.  Responsive Design is an effective solution to a very real and present challenge, one which is only going to expand as new devices are created and redesigned. The Responsive code automatically detects the specs of the device being used and adjusts the website’s layout, features and functions to the space available and resolution required to create an optimal browsing experience, just as you intended.

Failing to have your website appear correctly and in a user-friendly manner gives off vibes of your brand being neither up-to-scratch nor down-with-the-kids. In short, Responsive websites are increasingly what’s expected by today’s B2B and B2C consumer.

At Studio Republic we believe so strongly in the future demand for Responsive Design we see it as the default approach to web design. Anything less would be myopic - like selling Betamax videos in the 80’s (erm, showing our age there).  It takes slightly more time initially to build in the extra code but in the medium and long term it’s far simpler and more economical because all your content – whether it’s for desktop, mobile, iPad or Kindle – is managed in one location.  Some examples of sleek, responsive sites we have created are:

www.freewheelingfrance.com
www.entertainingbabies.com
www.garethgatrell.com

If you care about search engine optimisation you should be aware that Responsive Design is high on Google’s priority list too and sites that are not suitably mobile optimised are likely to suffer in the rankings.  Google’s Developer Website details various reasons behind their strong recommendation for Responsive Design.

Maybe you’ve heard about Responsive Web Design and you’re thinking ‘it sounds fantastic but can we really afford to right now?’ It’s inevitable that very, very soon you will be thinking ‘can we really afford NOT to right now?’  Mobile Internet is the next big consumer trend – one way or another that’s how people will view your website. Whether it fits their device is up to you.