What is Responsive Web Design?
From a layman’s point of view, it is a type of website that displays optimally on all devices like mobiles, tabs, laptops, desktops etc. When you open a Responsive website on a mobile device, it senses the width of the screen of the device, and adjusts the layout of the website for optimal viewing and browsing. Different elements on the web page may adjust accordingly as well, like say for example, the navigation. The navigation, you expect on a Desktop is different from what you would want on a small mobile screen. While on the desktop, where all top level items of the menu are mostly visible; keeping a similar setup on a mobile would fill up the whole screen and would appear all jumbled up. Therefore, we have the “mobile menu” on a mobile device, where most of the items are hidden and can be operated with touch as we do on mobile devices. And this transition happens automatically when the website is opened on a mobile device. Quite amazing.
So in a nutshell, the Responsive site is one, that can sense the width of the device on which it is viewed on and adjusts the layout for optimal viewing. This enables the viewer to browse the site with the least amount of zooming, panning, scrolling etc. The fonts, images, videos, layout, all adjust for the best viewing and reading experience.
Why Do I Need A Responsive Site?
So we learnt what a Responsive website is for a layman’s point of view. But why do I need it? Why is it important and how does it impact me and my audience?
We will answer the above question with a question, how often do you go online using mobile and handheld devices? The answer is probably, majority of the time. The same thing is happening with your customers and website audience. Most of them have made a transition from the traditional desktop to mobile devices, very similar to what we have experienced ourselves. If your website still does not have a mobile friendly web design, then most probably it is not viewable on a mobile device. Have you ever opened a website on your mobile device and noticed the website totally illegible? The entire website opens on the tiny mobile screen, and you need to zoom in and scroll incessantly. You realize how irritating the experience can be. You don’t want a similar experience with your own site.
If you are selling something, you do not want to irritate the customer. But rather, want to give them a user friendly experience, so that they can find what they are looking for on your site. The customer would stay longer and that would increase the odds of you making a sale, or whatever the target of the website is.
Mobile Websites Vs Responsive Web Design
Mobile sites on the other hand target different devices individually. It is like creating a new site for each mobile device. A program detects the device on which it is being viewed on, and the user then subsequently redirected to that version of the website. The apparent drawbacks are that you will need many versions of your site to target different devices. And guess what, the number of devices on the market is increasing each day. So what do you do? Do you keep on creating more version of your site with each device? That is quite an impractical approach today. A Responsive site in my opinion, solves this problem beautifully.
Another inherent flaw in mobile sites, is in direct relation to the number of sites you need to target so many devices. What the multiple versions do is create multiple URLs or web addresses for the same pages. In SEO terms, this is not such a good idea seeing this from Google’s perspective, as this creates content duplicity. That is, the same content is spread across multiple URLs on different versions of the site. Of course, this issue is not there with Responsive websites, as you need just one site for all devices.
Maintenance is going to be another issue with mobile sites. Upkeep of multiple sites is obviously more tedious and time consuming, not to mention the additional costs involved.
Advantages Of A Responsive Website.
Responsive web design or mobile friendly web design has obvious benefits taking into consideration the arguments above. One of the most obvious advantages is the fact that you need just one website to target all devices. I think this itself can be taken as the single most important factor to go for a Responsive website. The number of devices are going to increase in the market, but we won’t need to worry about that once we have a Responsive website.
It is better in terms of SEO of course, as it avoids content duplicity, avoiding the pitfalls of a mobile site.
And of course, it is easier to maintain in the long run. Taking care of it is just easier. Only one site to maintain, backup from time to time, and update when the need arises. It would save a lot of time, energy and money.
And since we use WordPress to design the Responsive websites, updating the site is even easier. Simply log into the Admin Dashboard and add a new page or post. And that new page is also Responsive. No need to worry about the technical aspect of it. You can log in and add an image or a video, and that also becomes Responsive. A WordPress site, plus a Responsive layout is magical. And as a Responsive Web Design Company, we would like to create that magic for you.