What Is Responsive Website Design?

Are you a business owner or developer that is wondering what responsive website design is? You’re not alone, and that’s why we’ve created this brief tutorial: Responsive Website Design 101. In general, Responsive Website Design (RWD) is an approach to website development that accounts for the many different sizes of displays that end-users may wish to use to view a webpage. This is to say that designers incorporate various techniques into their webpage designs in order to get the page to “respond” to different display sizes, and resize itself according to the type of the device an end-user is using, including a desktop machine, a laptop, a tablet or even on a smartphone.

Responsive Website Design has gained popularity over the last decade largely due to the adoption of more mobile devices among end-users. In fact, the most popular medium for viewing web content today, including performing internet searches or browsing social media, is through the use of a mobile device like a tablet or smartphone. Because of this shift in consumer preference from desktop machines to mobile devices, website owners need to make sure their websites are “mobile friendly,” and responsive, in order to endure brand content is delivered optimally. If your website cannot be viewed from a mobile device, you run the risk of losing potential customers.

Why Do Businesses Need Responsive Website Design?

As we mentioned before, most of the people who are surfing the internet nowadays are doing so using mobile devices. Part of the reason for this is the increase in the number of cellphones, and especially smartphones among Americans. A recent study from Pew Research demonstrates that as of 2017, more than 77% of American adults own their own smartphone, representing a more than 100% increase since 2011.

If you own a website, one great way to figure out how users are accessing your content is through the use of web traffic analytics tools like Google Analytics. These tool let you check the the traffic of your website, what devices visitors are using to access your content, what demographics your visitors fall into and many other useful data points. You might be a software company that offers desktop software, but you could be getting many visitors to your website through mobile devices. With the help of Google Analytics, you can determine the proportion of your traffic from mobile devices, and determine the importance of Responsive Development.

Not everyone uses a mobile device to browse the internet, but if your website doesn’t have a responsive website design, your mobile visitors will simply leave your site and find a new one. This is especially for e-commerce websites, and other direct to consumer product pages that have the opportunity to process sales directly and quickly. Incorporating a mobile friendly layout and design is critical to quickly capturing leads and converting them into paying customers.

How To Tell If Your Website Is Already Responsive?

The easiest way to determine if your website is a responsive website is to test the site on many devices and screen sizes. This can be done effectively these days in many modern browsers, such as Google Chrome or Apple Safari by way of the “developer” tab. This tab allows you to set the browser view to the size of common display sizes in order to test the look and feel of your site when viewed on those devices. You’ll know very quickly if your site is responsive because changing the display size will change the layout of the site for responsive sites, and will remain unchanged for websites that are not responsive.

While the above method is useful for determining whether or not your site is “in general” responsive, the only way to ensure that the site performs the way you intend it to across all devices is to test it on the device itself. Quality Assurance (QA) is a common piece of the website development process, and in the case of front-end web development often includes testing a website on the most common devices that your visitors use to reach your online store or website A website development firm can help you through this process, and guide you regarding the devices you should be using to test based on studying your actual web traffic.

Content Management (CMS) With Responsive Layouts

One of the easiest ways to ensure your website is responsive is to build it on a responsive platform from the beginning. Some of the common platforms that include responsive page templates are: Wordpress, Drupal, Django, Shopify, and Wix. Although there are dramatic differences between these platforms in terms of tradeoffs, use-case, and functionality, they all do a very good job with responsive design.

WordPress is by far the leading and the most widely used CMS. This started as a blogging platform and stays to be the most popular choice of most website designers. It is extremely customizable allowing you to build a website for your business that accounts for your preferences. In addition, Wordpress also stands out from the other because of its combination of customizability and ease of use.

How To Transform Your Site Into A Responsive Website?

If you’re thinking about how to turn your website in to a responsive website, there are a few things you should consider before you begin. First, it’s very important that you make this transition sooner rather than later because as your business grows, your customer’s expectations will also increase. Second, you’ll want to consider the cost of conversion versus the cost of re-development. This is to say that sometimes, it’s far better (and cheaper) to develop a new solution than to modify an old one. If you are a site owner, and it’s time to have a responsive website keep the following in mind:

Have An Expert Review Your Website

If you’re not an experienced software developer, chances are you’ll get overwhelmed very quickly when you’re trying to build a website by yourself. Can you do it? Yes. Should you? Probably not. Experts can really save you time and money when it comes to software and website development because they can quickly assess your needs and architect appropriate solutions that might otherwise be too costly or difficult to accomplish on your own. Importantly, experienced firms can do QA on your existing site, or your new site, and visit it using different devices.

Choose Framework

Switching to be responsive requires a lot of work. Frameworks (like Wordpress) will help you some of the heavy lifting. Once a framework is properly installed and configured, you’ll be able to modify a lot of the content of your website using built-in administration functionality. It can take time to get a website to become mature enough to allow ease of administration, but it’s often worth it in the long run.

Hire an Expert

Regardless of the approach, what matters is the value that you show to your users that you’re ready to serve them. If you’re not in the website design business, it’s often better and cheaper to just hire an experienced firm to get your job done quickly and efficiently. When you hire the right vendor, you’ll be free to get back to running your business.