In this rapidly shifting and expanding world of web-browsing devices, it is important to understand that your website must be accessible from laptops, smartphones, tablets, game consoles, and even fancy eyeglasses and watches. Responsive web design is a method of designing your website, so that when the winds of change begin to blow, your structure won’t collapse; instead, it will effortlessly sail into the future.
Fundamental #1: Responsive Web Design Is Essential.
Imagine strolling into a grocery store after you’ve picked up a shopping basket, because you only need bread, milk, and a bottle of lemony Vitamin Water goodness. Then, you read a sign in the produce section that says, “Customers with baskets may only browse aisles 1-4. Customers with shopping carts may browse the entire store.” How would you feel? Aside from feeling incredibly inconvenienced, you might get the idea that this grocery store doesn’t think you’re very important –just because you opted to use a basket and not a cart.
Visiting websites that do not utilize responsive web design have a very similar problem. If you are surfing the web on your iPhone, you will know that you’ve stumbled upon a website that doesn’t use it, because its pages seem dreadfully designed, there are parts of the site that you cannot use, or you cannot access the site altogether. So, what do you do? Because a web-surfer will only stay on a website for an average of 7 seconds …you will most likely be spending your data elsewhere.
Let’s face it; you are probably running a website because you want people to hear what you have to say, see what you want to show them, or buy what you have to sell. Your concern is to attract people, and people want convenience. In a highly competitive global market, you can’t afford to have a website that is inconvenient.
This is precisely why responsive web design is essential in a global market that is in a constant, chaotic, and rapid state of technological change. Responsive web design allows your visitors to access your website on any device, giving them convenience and incentive to stick around and keep browsing.
Fundamental #2: Responsive Web Design Is Not Difficult
In order to implement responsive web design in your website, you need to understand a bit about how it works. While most websites are usually designed for large screens, you can actually format your website’s HTML or XHTML to fit screens of all sizes, resolutions, and proportions. This problem is solved by, what is known as, “fluid grids”.
Fluid grids will shrink or expand various elements in your website to fit a smaller or larger screen, based on mathematical percentage. So, instead of distorting the sizes of the images and elements in your website, fluid grids will actually accomplish this resizing proportionately. The result is that each device will show a website layout that looks the way it was intended, and the surfer can utilize 100% of your website’s functionality.
In addition, responsive website design largely depends on CSS or ‘Cascading Style Sheets’. CSS has a few different types (CSS2.1, CSS3, etc.), but they all basically do the same thing: it extracts information from and identifies the device, and then redirects it to a place where the site specifically accommodates the device’s formatting, size, resolution, and so forth. Even so, because the CSS allows you to design the site to support specific devices, the visitor can enjoy convenience and accommodation without missing anything your site has to offer.
There are excellent resources and tutorials all over the web, concerning how to implement responsive web design in your website. Your website can be iPad, Android, and Kindle-compatible in a very short amount of time.
Fundamental #3: Using Responsive Web Design Is an Investment In the Future
Just because web-browsing devices are rapidly changing doesn’t mean that your website’s fundamental foundations have to change with it. With a few quick additions in the responsive web design methods that we discussed above, and you can keep up with little effort.
The creator of responsive web design, Ethan Marcotte, wrote in his article “Responsive Web Design”:
This is our way forward. Rather than tailoring disconnected designs to each of an ever-increasing number of web devices, we can treat them as facets of the same experience. We can design for an optimal viewing experience, but embed standards-based technologies into our designs to make them not only more flexible, but more adaptive to the media that renders them.
Responsive web design is crucial to the future of your online presence. Change, especially in web-device technology, isn’t slowing anytime soon. For this reason, neither should your website.