Responsive web design allows us to build web sites that provide an optimal viewing experience across a wide range of devices—whether you’re on a smartphone or a 27” monitor. It allows easy reading and navigation without the panning and scrolling or the time and expense of building customized mobile apps for the major platforms.
Responsive Web Design Explained
A Flexible Foundation
Over a third of your customers browse websites using their smartphones—in fact, mobile and tablet browsing is expected to surpass desktop-based viewing within the next three years. This very page you’re on right now, believe it or not, receives 41 percent of its traffic from smartphones and tablets.
Was your website designed with the technology and the design foresight to not only automatically scale content for all screen sizes but also to dynamically prioritize content and adapt on-page elements according to the size of the device viewing the website?
Why We Choose Responsive Web Design
It’s a fact: 86 percent of smartphone and tablet owners have used their devices to look up information about a business in the past thirty days. How do you effectively reach your audience and ensure its experience with your website is positive no matter the platform or screen size? We’ve stopped trying to keep up with the endless new resolutions and devices that might possibly access your website. Instead, we design websites that adapt and respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform, and orientation.
Responsive web design gives us the freedom to build a site that can dynamically change to fit each user and platform. A media query allows us to target not only certain device classes but also inspect the physical characteristics of the device rendering our website. We then prioritize content and make strategic choices as elements shift and reposition themselves—for example, highlighting the contact info and social media elements when a user is browsing on a smartphone or adjusting the text size and readability when a user is on a tablet device.
During a typical responsive design project, designers begin with the desktop web design and work to prioritize and scale content for numerous breakpoints dictated by the thousands of different devices and screen sizes. Mobile-first design, however, reverses this process. So rather than porting the desktop version to a mobile web site, the content is optimized for the smallest screens first (mobile), and as the need arises, the site can gradually be improved for larger platforms with fewer constraints. Think “progressive enhancement” rather than “graceful degradation.”
An Alternative To Responsive
Occasionally, a client’s needs extend past scaling a site for mobile use and requires a dedicated mobile application. The end goals for designing mobile apps, whether they’re used by customers or internally, differ greatly from website priorities. Applications are often used daily and require robust, intuitive functionality with a focus on ease of use rather than on funneling users to conversion points.