What is responsive web design?

1 minute read / Web design

What is responsive web design?

Responsive websites are those which respond to their user’s behaviour and environment. Responsive web design is a special method of building websites that are compatible across mobiles, tablets, and desktops.

The technique of responsive web design is a blend of adaptive (multiple fixed width) or responsive (multiple fluid grid) layouts, images and a resourceful use of CSS media. For instance, when a user goes from their smartphone to a tablet, the site should automatically change into a different resolution, image size and scripting abilities.

Instead of being built in fixed units like pixels, responsive sites are built in relative units like percentages, giving them a lot more flexibility. Some things to consider with responsive web design include: how long it will take and how much it will cost, older browsers, its performance, the content required, the transition from website to web application and the overall design process.

It is also important to bear in mind what issues may arise when implementing a responsive web design. These include:

Download and load time

The amount of graphics and ads can affect the download speed. It is advisable that there are less graphics for mobile, as this will ensure a faster load time. Did you know that a one second delay in speed can lead to a 7{3eb5e81dc2dbd5243766a445dfd7203b99614852f30724c0fcd7c1e47478fab9} drop in sales?

Touch screen versus the mouse

With the rise of the smartphone, users mostly use a touch screen to navigate their way round apps and sites. So, what is usually an easy task when using a mouse may become the opposite when using a touch screen – such as trying to click a tiny square box, for instance. A web designer should bear in mind these user discrepancies regarding touch when designing a site.

Mobile versions versus apps

With so many devices available, it’s getting more difficult to create and optimise apps for your site. You need to create a flexible, responsive web design that is versatile across different devices and platforms.

Don’t forget about best practices

Also, don’t forget about checking content, constantly optimising, starting with mobile, and trading Photoshop for browser!

Why should you swap to a responsive web design?

The most important reason why you should make the change to a responsive web design is that more than 563 million mobile devices and connections were added in 2015, and 80{3eb5e81dc2dbd5243766a445dfd7203b99614852f30724c0fcd7c1e47478fab9} of internet users own a smartphone, vastly outnumbering desktop. This is something you can track by using Google Analytics. It’s also a lot easier to download and buy responsive design templates from sites such as ThemeForest, and these can be customised by a web developer to fit your brand.

Whatever type of web design you’re looking for, from bespoke to template, we can help. Check out our web design service page for more information.

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