Responsive Website Design
Written by JessicaSep 23, 14
It’s a familiar scene. You use your mobile device to access a website during a morning commute. The website looks small. Too small. You can’t read any of the text. You tap your screen to zoom in and read the headings. You scroll down… you scroll to the right… you scroll to the right a little more… and then a little more… and then you scroll down… and you scroll to the left… and you scroll to the right...
It’s a familiar scene. You use your mobile device to access a website during a morning commute. The website looks small. Too small. You can’t read any of the text. You tap your screen to zoom in and read the headings. You scroll down… you scroll to the right… you scroll to the right a little more… and then a little more… and then you scroll down… and you scroll to the left… and you scroll to the left some more… Are you frustrated yet? You should be. Websites need to be built with the ability to respond to their environment, changing to suit the device they are being viewed upon. Herein lies the beauty of responsive website design. Responsive websites have fluid grids, fluid images and fluid media queries to help alter the website’s layout according to the screen size. If you view a responsive website on your desktop you may see a wide layout with content split into three columns, on your tablet the layout will shrink to fit everything on the smaller screen, and on your mobile device the images and text will become even smaller with content displayed in a single column. Facebook received a lot of media hype earlier this year when it was revealed that the company’s revenues had grown significantly through the use of mobile ads. When building the website for his 2012 campaign, Barack Obama’s team recognised that today an online audience consists of a growing mobile audience. They used responsive design to make sure that his entire site, including online store and campaign donation section, provided a strong, consistent user experience on mobile, tablet, and desktop devices. Having a responsive website has become essential for success. Without a design that’s mobile or tablet friendly your site will lose accessibility. You risk losing traffic and ultimately business. As devices such as mobiles and tablets become ‘smarter’ and also more affordable, they are sidelining desktops with a rapid growth in their usage.
Some notable statistics include:
• So far in 2013, 17.4% of web traffic has come through mobile devices (this marks an increase since 2012 when 11.1% of traffic came from mobile devices).
• Mobile broadband subscriptions have grown by 40% annually over the past three years.
• Mobile broadband subscription currently outnumber fixed broadband subscriptions at a ratio of 3:1.
• In developed countries mobile broadband users often also have access to a fixed-broadband connection, however in developing countries mobile broadband is often the only method available for internet access.
“Day by day, the number of devices, platforms, and browsers that need to work with your site grows. Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift in how we’ll build websites for the decade to come.” - Jeffrey Veen