What is Responsive Web Design and Why You Need It

02.01.2013

In an era of "multiple screens" where people access the Internet through various devices, responsive web design is the X factor that will give your website an edge over its competition. Responsive design is a design concept that allows sites to "respond" to the viewing needs of its audiences. This means that regardless of the screen from which visitors are viewing the website, they will always be afforded an optimized viewing experience.

Why Responsive Web Design?

Here at eNox Media, many of our clients are reporting that up to 40% of their visitors are accessing their websites through smartphones and tablets. This percentage is only set to increase in the coming years, as tablet sales are expected to breach 100 million this year alone and the majority of mobile subscribers in the US own smartphones. With more and more people connecting to the web "on the go," these mobile, personal devices are an increasingly lucrative venue for reaching out to your target audiences. It's gone beyond a matter of whether you have a mobile website or not -- you need to be able to deliver an excellent user experience regardless of which device your visitors choose to access your site with: desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

What Exactly is Responsive Web Design?

Responsive design's edge over non-responsive design is its flexibility. Responsive websites adapt to the needs of the visitors. Take a look at one of the responsive websites we designed: SideBern's. Resize your browser while taking a gander at Bern's and you'll notice that the elements of the webpage resize to fit your new preferences. This is the basic concept of responsive design, and through its technologies we are able to extend this flexibility and adaptability to any device or "screen" you use. It's not just a matter of being mobile compatible -- it's not all about being optimized and streamlined for maximum viewing pleasure.

Responsive web design relies on three major elements:

  • CSS3 media queries, which uses adaptable CSS styles to suit the device on which the website is being viewed
  • Fluid grid layouts, where webpage elements are sized using relative and not absolute measurements, and
  • Flexible images, which, along with fluid grid layouts, are sized in relative units, meaning they will resize along with the viewing platform

To put it simply, a webpage element that is set to always take up 80% of the browser will always take up 80% of the browser, no matter its size. You can present your website in the best way possible to your visitors regardless of the real estate available on their devices.

The Responsive Web Design Edge

Initially, this may seem more of a convenience than an absolute need, but your audience would beg to differ. A meager 5 second delay in website loading time can directly cause a 35% reduction in conversion, with potential clients and leads walking away instead of waiting. It's the same with web design. If you can't offer them the maximum convenience of a professional, responsive design, they have a thousand other options that might.

Take a look at our design for Inspired Entertainment. It's expansive elements and dynamic style appeals greatly to its target audience, but if the design wasn't responsive, the impact would be lost depending on the browser. This is the responsive web design edge. The rising numbers of mobile, personal devices compounded by the demand for an optimum browsing experience makes responsive websites ideal multi-screen masterpieces that directly impact their business' bottom-line.

When will you adopt responsive web design?

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