For those of us in the design community, responsive design is a household term – but that’s not the case for many web users. Even though responsive design has been around since 2010, it’s still a new concept for many website owners. Here’s a primer to get you up to speed.
Ever notice how some websites work well on mobile and tablet devices, while others look wonky and are nearly impossible to use? The reason why is simple: most of the ones that don’t work well are serving an old-school desktop experience to users of new-school devices, while the ones that work well have solved that problem with a little technique called responsive design.
Simply put, responsive design is the modern way to create websites that look good and function well on any device and platform. Websites used to come in one ‘size’: a big ‘ol static desktop experience. In the responsive era, websites must be fluid and flexible. Their content and layout will often condense for a small, narrow screen while spreading out on a large screen to take advantage of the increased visual real estate. Each case is different and techniques vary. The idea is to provide an awesome user experience for all users in a world of increasingly varied connected devices. See the infographic:
When done well, responsive web design can be future-friendly: if it’s totally flexible, the site will be able to ‘respond’ to some devices that haven’t even made it to market yet. New Apple gizmo – tablet, phablet, whatever? No prob.
Responsive design can improve your business. Just think about it—you’re reaching out to the largest possible audience. My redesign of Coldfront magazine helped their traffic go through the roof. If you need more reasons to go responsive, check out my article Why You Need a Responsive Website.