Responsive Web Design 101
Web technology has had to change with the way people now use the internet. With more and more hits on just about every website coming from phones and tablets, many developers have gone for a ‘mobile’ version of their site, as in the site detects what sort of browser is viewing it and redirects mobile users to a mobile friendly version of the site. This is all well and good, however a new style of web design known as ‘responsive’ or ‘adaptive’ design has made the need for mobile versions of websites redundant for the businesses who have adopted it.
What Is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive web design is effectively a school of web development whereby the site you are looking at automatically optimises itself for the medium you are viewing it on. Based on detecting your browser, device and settings, a responsive website will present itself in the best possible way for your phone, tablet or computer, depending on what you are using. This means people with phones see the same website as people looking at it on a Macbook, with no redirects, but it will always look its best on the screen it is being looked at on.
Does My Business Need This?
There is an investment overhead in creating a new responsive or adaptive website if you currently operate separate mobile and PC sites, or if you haven’t thought about this too much and just have ‘a site’ you assume looks fine on mobiles as much as on computer monitors. However, it is well worth doing. One of the biggest reasons for abandoned online shopping carts is the fact that things are hard to use or just don’t work on a mobile device, and more and more customers these days are demanding the ability to shop on the fly with mobile sites. While you could run two versions of your site and have a redirect putting your mobile customers onto a mobile version of your site, this means you have the responsibility for keeping two sites up to date, and even with the best content management package that is an annoying thing to have to do. With responsive web design, you can just update the back end of one site and know that whatever device your customer is using, they have a clean, functional and attractive website to place their order on.
Responsive web design is more important than you may think, and can actually give you a genuine competitive edge. It will not only make life easier for your customers, who can interact with you via their phones and computers just as easily, but will also make life easier for you and your team – you no longer have to mirror any changes to your site to your mobile site. Whether you train up your in house staff to do responsive web development or use an outside consultancy, it is a change that is sure to pay dividends with your customers, so make it one of your priorities for the next year in your IT budget!