Responsive web design: Big sites on small screens

Things move fast in the world of digital technology. Just when you think you are on top of it, something new comes along that changes everything. Just a few years ago, anyone fortunate enough to be able to access the internet would do so via their PC. Nowadays computer technology has been disseminated into many different areas of our lives, from telephones to TVs, not to mention tablets, ipods, Kindles, netbooks, laptops, glasses, watches… No doubt by the time you read this there will be something new on the market (window panes that double as display screens?).

With so many ways to browse the web, each with a different sized screen, different browser technology and different functionality, how can a single website cope with them all? After all, a site that looks and works like a dream on a desktop PC could become a nightmare when viewed on a smartphone. Well-written, beautifully presented content, becomes a squashed and botched version of its former self. Once stunning images are reduced to an indistinguishable postage-stamp-sized blur of colour. Lilliputian menu buttons and links are unintentionally clicked as users struggle to make sense of the shrunken and shrivelled site.

Responsive web design is the term used to describe the range of techniques that overcome these concerns. It builds into a website the ability to automatically detect each device and respond by adapting to its particular display, resolution and operating system. The result is that text can be read clearly, images look great, and menu items are suitably-sized, irrespective of screen dimensions.

37% of e-commerce is on mobiles

Responsive web design is an essential part of modern website development. Nowhere more so than in the field of e-commerce. Here, optimum ease of use across a range of devices is vital to survival. At the time of writing over one third of e-commerce transactions are made on mobile devices and the figure is increasing all the time. Customers need to be able to browse and buy with effortless ease, without any obstacles placed in the way of making a purchase.
The expertise in producing a responsive website shouldn’t be under estimated from the design of the flexible layout and extra menus to the extensive testing to ensure a robust solution.  Inevitably the extra time entailed makes for a higher investment (budget) but think about it as getting three websites for less than the price of two!

Whatever your business, do not think of your website as being viewed in one way only. We are in a multi-platform world where your site will be viewed in a wide range of places using a myriad of devices. No doubt screen sizes will continue to change as even more devices are developed. So make sure that your website can adapt to any screen size now and in the near future by ensuring it is designed responsively.