Due to the popularity of mobile devices and varying screen sizes, responsive page layouts have become all the rage these days. But what is responsive design and why does your website need it? In a nutshell, responsive web design it is a way to have a single website design adapt to any screen size it is being viewed from. The technology uses CSS3 to adjust content to a device’s screen size, orientation and resolution. So if someone is viewing your site from an iPhone, tablet, Galaxy Nexus, iPad, etc. the site will adjust itself to a specific device’s browsing screen size.
This is important because it gives the user a more uniform approach to what information your site is trying to convey. Instead of the user scrolling back and forth in attempts to locate content, it creates a fluid design that organizes your content properly. The result is a better User Interface (UI) and User-Experience (UX). Better UI and UX results in increased sales and referrals. This chart from practicalemommerce.com shows the effects of good UI and UX in the mobile world:
In the past, solutions for mobile adaptation were to create a mobile version of the user’s main website or to create an application for the mobile environment. In many cases responsive design resolves those costly needs. It also creates uniformity in advertising by directing users to one URL instead of referring clients to a mobile site URL and a standard URL. It also alleviates the need to have an app to view the mobile environment. Overall, this results in one URL, one message, less confusion, and better marketing.
Even with all of the advantages of responsive design, it is not for everyone. In some cases clients may need an app for their mobile interface. Mobile site building is quickly becoming a thing of the past and it really depends on the clients needs, but I can honestly say that responsive design can fix 75% of a client’s mobile environment problems.