Whenever a company or agency approaches a web designer and says, “Hey, I need a website built,” it can be a loaded statement. In recent years, months and even days – yes, changes in web design practices an change that fast – every site needed three distinct designs: one for desktops/laptops, one for smart phones/cell phones, and one for tablet PCs. Now, web designers must always consider the three different Internet viewing environments and craft compelling, dynamic and functional designs to meet the needs of each platform.
Modern web design takes into account that a website can be viewed by any or all of these devices at any time. This design practice is now referred to as “Responsive Design.” This new brand of web design ensures that website content looks fluid on a wide range of computing devices, and on a wide range of mobile platforms. Thanks to cloud computing, website viewers are just as likely to be using a mobile platform as they are to be using a laptop.
Differentiating Laptop, Smart Phone & Tablet PC Viewing Environments
While this isn’t rocket science, bad mobile site design can throw a wrench into a web design strategy that hasn’t been thought out. It really boils down to screen resolution, screen size, how much content can fit onto the screen and how it should be positioned to create the easiest viewing experience for the user. The mobile site design emphasis should also be placed on the dynamic nature of a mobile device’s screen. In fact, screen resolution can vary considerably from device to device. This is where responsive design can really shine.
With laptop page design, it’s fairly easy to stay fluid with page design. With tablets and smart phones, the web page can change an instant from landscape (horizontal screen viewing) to portrait (vertical screen viewing). Responsive design creates an environment where the website immediately recognizes the specific device a user is using to view the page, and adapts accordingly.
Why You Should Care About Responsive Design
The main concept behind responsive web design isn’t anything new. It all comes down to well thought out design practices. At the core of great web design is a driving focus on creating a great experience for your site’s mobile users. If users have to spend time zooming in and out, or resetting resolution settings on their device in order to enjoy your site’s content, they’re not going to stick around on your page for very long. Responsive web design that both engages and influences your site’s visitors to click through to other content will go a long way to improve conversion rates.
Conclusion: Responsive Design is Non-Negotiable
The big takeaway is that modern web design should be a healthy combination of function, dynamics and flexibility to keep the attention of the modern user. Since more and more users are accessing the web through a mobile device, modern websites must be able to easily adapt to the multiply platforms through which users access content online. For any website looking to reach the widest audience possible – which includes every website ever created – flexible and responsive web design is not an option.