The rise of mobile Internet has been so prolific that no one in the highly competitive world of online business can afford to ignore it. Not so long ago, almost everyone accessed the Internet through desktop or laptop computers, and by far the most common screen resolution in the earlier days of the Web was 1024×768.
Why Businesses Should Consider Responsive Web Design
Things are very different today, however, with people browsing from desktop computers with 24″ screens at high-definition resolutions to tiny smartphones with screens often no larger than a credit card. No longer does one size fit all, and webmasters have to be able to accommodate as many devices and screen resolutions as possible if they want to reach a wider audience.
Responsive Web design is the ultimate solution to this problem, since it allows a single website to automatically adapt to the screen resolution of the device or window that it is being displayed in. A website designed in this way will look good and retain its usability on any screen. The following takes a deeper look into the advantages of responsive Web design and how you can profit from it.
How Responsive Web Design Works
Responsive Web design can appear extremely complicated from a technical point of view.
Fortunately, however, there are many responsive design themes available for most of the popular content management systems, so there is often no need to get into the inner workings of coding such a website.
A responsively designed website will automatically adapt to the size of the window that it is displayed in.
In the context of a smartphone or tablet computer, this means that it will automatically adapt to the screen resolution as such devices usually only have full-screen browsers. This means, that on mobile devices, minimal zooming is required to navigate through the content.
Just How Popular Is Mobile Browsing?
There are those who simply can’t stand using the small screen for browsing the Web. While viewing content on the big screen always offers the best experience, mobility offers an unprecedented level of convenience.
Today, more and more people are using smartphones and tablet computers.
The mobile Internet is fast becoming ubiquitous. It is also becoming faster and more reliable with the rollout of the latest 4G mobile Internet technology.
By the beginning of 2013, almost a quarter of the population of the United States were accessing the Internet from mobile devices more often than from desktops and laptops. Around ninety percent of adults now have smartphones with Internet capabilities, and Internet shoppers are around seventy percent more likely to make purchases from a mobile-friendly website.
There is simply no going back now. These trends are only going to continue. While the big screen will also always have its place, the desktop or laptop computer will no longer be the most common tools for accessing the Web.
The Benefits of Responsive Site Design
The benefits of responsive Web design generally far outweigh any possible disadvantages in most applications. Here is a look at some of the key benefits.
- It provides every viewer with a consistent and optimized experience when accessing your website.
- It allows you to have the convenience of only having one website rather than a completely separate mobile-friendly version. This helps to minimize maintenance as you will have a single set of code and content requiring less storage space.
- Mobile-friendly websites, including those which deploy responsive design techniques tend to rank higher in the search engines.
Disadvantages of Responsive Design
Responsive Web design is not perfect. There are a few potential issues which might not make it the best choice in every situation.
- It can be more complicated, time-consuming and expensive to develop such a website.
- It doesn’t allow you to truly focus to a specific type of device – responsive design is somewhat of a Jack of all trades, but a master of none.
- It doesn’t necessarily improve usability for those with touch-screen devices by itself. Bigger buttons and more user-friendly navigational features are still important for mobile users, although they can look cumbersome and annoying on the big screen.
Is Responsive Web Design Right for Your Business?
Changing the entire design of your business website is a major undertaking and a considerable financial burden, so you will still want to evaluate the pros and cons.
- Do your market research to determine whether or not enough of your customers use mobile devices to make it worthwhile migrating to responsive design. If you have a slowly growing number of mobile users, then making the change may make this growth more rapid.
- Can you afford it? Web design doesn’t come cheap, particularly if you need to have every section of your website redesigned. However, the investment will most likely pay for itself quite quickly, particularly if you already have a popular website.
- If you already have a separate mobile-orientated version of your website, you may not want to redesign everything and consolidate all of your content into a single site. If you have already made the effort to focus individually on mobile and non-mobile users, then you should probably stick with what you have.
Author By Malcolm Oakley