Responsive Web Design

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

Responsive Web Design

How does your website account for an endless parade of new resolutions and mobile devices?

An incredible number of new web enabled devices have made their way into the world since Apple debuted the original iPhone back in 2007. Today there are a wide variety of tablets, e-readers and phones that all come in different form factors and screen resolutions. That means the internet isn't just on our computers anymore, it's with us on the go. We are, without a doubt, living in a post-PC era.

In our increasingly mobile and decreasingly desktop world, its hard to keep track of the numerous ways that information on the web is consumed. This can easily turn into downright frustration on the part of savvy business owners that understand the need to target their consumers in the mobile space, but who do not have the resources to simply throw money at custom solutions that target each and every platform. And that doesn't even take into account all of the devices yet to come.

So what is this savvy business owner to do? Ignore mobile altogether? Simply hope that their customers will understand their dilemma and not expect a great mobile experience? Pour more time and money into customizing an experience for each and every device? No, of course not. None of these are good solutions. Enter Responsive Web Design.

What is Responsive Web Design?

Simply put, Responsive Web Design is the process of designing and developing sites that respond and adapt to screen size in order to provide the best possible end user experience. This approach to web design and development believes that a modern website should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation.

Ethan Marcotte coined the term "Responsive Web Design" (or RWD) when he wrote his A List Apart article back in 2010. In the three years since, the idea has started to take hold. Although Threshold is one of a small number of web design firms are offering Responsive Design services at this point in time, the web is starting to see more real world (vs. demo) Responsive websites come online every week.

Rather than tailoring disconnected designs to each of an ever-increasing number of web devices, we can treat them as facets of the same experience. - Ethan Marcotte

Fairly soon, the idea of designing websites responsively will become mainstream. That's definitely not a surprise given all of the advantages associated with moving to a RWD.

How Can You Benefit?

One of the biggest benefits of employing a RWD is the simplicity of being able to write once and run everywhere. One site design and build for every device. You only need to worry about maintaining a single site, vs. having to worry about multiple mobile sites as in years past. It also means a new site will be produce a greater Return on Investment (ROI) as it's simultaneously farther reaching and less expensive (than creating multiple sites).

Are you looking for even more reasons you should be considering moving to a Responsively Designed site? To wit:

  • Improve Your SEO - Google itself recommends Responsive Design to increase Search Engine Optimization (Source)
  • Increased Your Sales - 67% of users say they are more likely to make a purchase on a mobile friendly website (Source)
  • Enhance Your Brand - 55% of users said a frustrating mobile experience would hurt the perception of a brand (Source)
  • Cater to the Majority - In 2013 the number of mobile internet users will overtake desktop internet users (Source)

Now is the time to start leapfrogging your competition by targeting your mobile audience. The good news is, Responsive Web Design makes doing so easier than ever.