It seems that the focus these days is on responsive design, but what does that actually mean? What does this have to do with mobile devices? And why should you be worried about updating your website to be responsive?

Multiple devices with responsive content

Responsive design refers to creating pages and sites in a way that lends itself easily to all device sizes, regardless of the platform. Prior technologies focused on re-directing mobile devices to a mobile-specific site with paired-down content. Now-a-days, users expect richer content and a full desktop-like experience on their mobile phones, without compromising their access to all of the information they can find on a desktop computer. Basically, mobile users want their cake and the ability to eat it too!

Comscore - Consumers are Multi-Platform
Desktop Traffic vs. Tablet Traffic vs. Mobile Traffic

So, why should you worry about mobile devices? Ultimately, you need to worry about responsive design because more and more people are using their mobile devices as their primary resource for accessing information. Like the graph above indicates, even during working hours when desktop usage peaks, mobile devices are a constant companion for individuals. Depending on the type of service or product you are offering, mobile usage can even be much higher, which is especially true for selling items online.

This means that your content has to be accessible and relevant even when viewed on smaller screens. In addition, your images should be formatted to be viewed easily on multiple screen sizes; we recommend images with less text, as that doesn’t always scale down easily for devices with smaller screens. Therefore, having a site that mobile users can easily access and navigate is crucial to effectively disseminating your information, marketing your services, or even selling your products online. Another reason for worrying about this is because Google now ranks sites in mobile search based on whether or not your site is ready for mobile devices (those that aren’t will get a lower ranking).

Well then, how is this accomplished? There are a variety of technologies out there that help you update your site to a responsive format, but they all basically do the same thing — they capture the device size, and then display out the content differently depending on that sizing. You can set specific elements to appear one way for desktop devices, another for tablets, and finally a different way for mobile phones. And this can all be done on the same page, rather than creating separate pages for each device. One of the more popular technologies is Bootstrap, which utilizes a combination of Javascript and CSS to adjust the content for each device size.

Right now, it does take some understanding of HTML syntax in order to work with any of the responsive technologies. However, that will change as time goes on. Ultimately, it looks like responsive design and websites are the future of web, so that’s why you should consider upgrading your site to be responsive today.

Tom Koerber
Tom Koerber

Tom is our lead programmer with a focus on web and mobile application development.

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