Using Responsive Design, Friendly Web Design for All Devices
Using Responsive Web Design
Smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices have changed the way that we use the internet. This has allowed designers and programmers to make changes in web design to accommodate mobile users. If your website doesn’t display well on a wide variety of mobile devices it will not get the traffic that you need to make sales and conversions.
Mobile internet use has doubled in the last year and now 10.1% of all web browsing is being done on smart phones and tablets1. The web browsing habits of mobile internet users tends to be focused differently, with almost two thirds of tablet owners making at least one weekly search on their device and 88% of mobile local searches resulting in a purchase2. These mobile customers are looking for information on the run and if your website isn’t mobile-friendly you are probably missing many potential sales.
There are a few basic details that differ in the display and functional capabilities of mobile devices that often makes websites display poorly on them. The most obvious difference between most portable devices and PCs is the screen size limitation which requires images to be resized and can make long blocks of text hard to read. Because mobile devices also use touch screens it is easy for users to accidentally click on a hyperlink or a navigational button and take themselves to another page. In order to get over these difficulties web designers have developed several alternative methods of displaying websites on mobile devices.
The most common solution has been to create a mobile-friendly website that operates in tandem with the normal website. This has many advantages as webpages built like this are optimized to be used on a variety of mobile devices and so they arguably provide the best possible user experience. The drawback is that it means running two websites with identical content and the mobile site needs to be constantly updated to be compatible with new devices as they come on the market.
The newly emerging solution is to create responsive websites that adapt themselves to the devices that are displaying them. Using an engineering principal called elegant degradation, responsive web design uses Cascading Style Sheets with fluid proportion based grids to adapt the webpage layout for optimal display on whatever device is being used. This gives users with a broad range of devices and browsers access to the same source of information on the web. This also means that people who find your website on their PC will be able to see the same webpage on their mobile device while they are actually out looking for your business.
Mobile internet users will outnumber PC web browsers within the next year and so it is just common sense to make your website compatible with the way that a large percentage of your customers will want to find you. It takes a bit longer to set up a responsive website in the beginning but it takes less time to maintain than twin sites and displays on a wider variety of devices, making responsive websites the most mobile-friendly websites.
2. 5th Annual 15miles/Localeze Local Search Usage Study, comScore, 2012