You may not have heard the term “Responsive Web Design” before – it’s the technical term for having a website that scales perfectly to suit any screen size. Whether your website is accessed on a smart phone, games console, tablet or desktop computer, your visitor will have the same great user experience.
In the past few years, developing for smart phones and tablets has become easier thanks to the proliferation of WebKit (which powers the browsers on the iPhone, Android and webOS devices).
Using CSS media queries, a website can be scaled and manipulated to respond perfectly, whatever device is used to access it. Using this website as an example, if you resize the window, you will see that the sidebar moves below the content when the window drops below a certain width. When the window becomes even narrower, the dropdown navigation is replaced with a menu toggle, which not only saves on screen real estate but makes navigation more “touch-friendly”.
Why does my website need to be responsive?
The number of people accessing the web from mobile and tablet devices is growing phenomenally quickly. If your website doesn’t scale to fit their device, potential customers can be left fiddling around with pinch and zoom desperately trying to find the information they’re looking for – eventually, they may just skip to the next search result and leave you out entirely!
So in order to make the most of this growing mobile market, you need a website that looks just as good when viewed on a small screen. There are a couple of ways to achieve this, including creating a separate mobile site altogether, but I’m a strong advocate of responsive web design rather than duplicate content and difficult-to-maintain mobile sites.
Okay, so you’ll probably pay more to have a responsive website developed, but it’s definitely an investment that’s worth making. Not only will your website be future-proofed against new devices, you’ll be able to rest easy in the knowledge that whether your website is accessed from a smart phone, games console, tablet, laptop or even a humble desktop computer, your potential customers will all receive the same great browsing experience.