What’s all this about responsive web design (RWD)?

Assuming you’ve never heard of the term ‘responsive web design’ here’s a basic description:

In short, it’s a website that’s mobile friendly.

RWD is the approach to web design that allows the content of the page(s) to scale to fit the size of the device that you’re using to view the web page. If you’re on a smartphone or tablet, the images scale down as a percentage and the different parts of the page re stack so that you can still view the content a minimum of horizontal scrolling. Menus can change to a simple dropdown and pages can be trimmed to include only the most essential ones.

You can tell if a website is responsive using a desktop computer by dragging the side of the web browser in and seeing if you still need to scroll left and right to view the content.

Maine trailer mobile

View on mobile phone

Maine-trailer-desktop

Same site on desktop

Why is it important to have a responsive web design?

According to our busiest sites that we monitor (5,500-12,700 visitors/month),  between 25% to 44% of users are visiting these websites using a tablet or mobile. I’ve personally watched this number climb each year which is no surprise.

Another advantage is that instead of maintaining 2 sets of content (if you already have a mobile site) you only have to keep one piece of content, keeping costs down.

Solutions for a responsive site:

There are several ways to solve the problem of not having a mobile friendly site.

One excellent way is to use WordPress and to choose a responsive theme. This also allows you have a site where you can do updates yourself.

If you’re thinking about setting up a shopping cart, there are many vendors that have responsive themes. Opencart is one that I’ve used with a theme purchased from ThemeForest.

Of course, you can always have a custom responsive theme developed if you want to pay the price.

Keep in mind that any out of the box responsive theme (even WordPress!) will need some customization that you may need help with.

So, if you’re thinking about a re-design for your website make sure you have it made so that it’s responsive! The smartphone isn’t going away anytime soon and those statistics will only increase.

Keep your site friendly for both the desktop and mobile users.

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responsive_web_design

https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/layouts/rwd-fundamentals/

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/01/12/guidelines-for-responsive-web-design/

Best Responsive Websites:

http://www.awwwards.com/websites/responsive-design/

 

Doug Moore has been helping small businesses grow and succeed for over 10 years. His passion is to provide the tools to help you efficiently market your business.

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