Responsive Website Design

What is responsive web design?

Responsive web design is a method for developing websites which allows the site to display as optimally as possible, no matter how the user is accessing it.

A few years ago it was enough to simply build a website that looked good and worked on a desktop computer, but in the last few years more and more people are accessing the Internet using other devices, most commonly tablets and mobile phones.

By carefully crafting the website we can make sure that everyone gets the best experience possible, by allowing the website to adapt to the device on which it is being viewed.

The easiest way to explain this is to refer to the image above. On the laptop the website is split into 3 columns as there is plenty of space for that content. However many users might be viewing it on tablet with a smaller screen. We might decide that we want the site to adjust for these people, so we force it to shuffle down into two columns, thus making each column of content bigger. Then taking it one step further we can shuffle the layout down again into one single column for the mobile phone users to maximise readability and impact of the images.

On these smaller screens we can also make the main menu collapse to save space.

 

Why is this important?

Approximately half of all Internet usage is now performed on a tablet or mobile phone, so it is incredibly important not to ignore these users. If you have a website that was built a few years ago, the chances are it may be difficult to use on a small device.

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The Rule of Thumb

Hold your mobile phone in one hand, about 30cm away from your eyes. Can you navigate your site using only your thumb and read all the text? If not, you could be losing half your audience.