Building a Web site is no simple task. Designs that work well for viewing content on a laptop or desktop screen don’t always translate effectively to a smartphone or tablet. Until recently, the answer was building a separate mobile page. No more!
Responsive Web design streamlines the creation of Web pages. It eliminates the need for duplicate Web pages formatted specifically for viewing on mobile devices. The same design can fit all mobile devices and traditional laptops or desktop computers. Building one Web site that works on thousands of screens of all shapes and sizes is an attractive proposition for business owners and web design companies.
Responsive websites boast more fluid layouts than their traditional counterparts. Images, graphics, text and other elements on the page are coded to fit the screen of the device accessing the site. They sense the constraints of a mobile device and reformat all of the Web site elements to fit the screen.
This makes websites more flexible by issuing commands through CSS to a device on how to display Web site content properly. A Web designer can create simple rules in CSS to make the Web site adapt to the screen size of any device. Like any new design approach, responsive design isn’t perfect, but it presents a pretty attractive solution to many businesses who want to maintain a single Web site that functions regardless of the device used to view it.
The idea of building a single Web site that works well across multiple platforms is catching fire with continued advances in mobile technology. Businesses are looking for a way to streamline design so the same site can serve all users at the same time. Responsive Web design is one way of realizing the vision of a unified Web.
Creating one design that automatically changes to fit any screen size on any device offers several distinct advantages for Web site owners over traditional Web design:
- It links every Web site to a single domain. This will boost your search engine rankings because all backlinks will now redirect to a single site rather than potentially splitting traffic between your mobile and desktop sites.
- Responsive Web pages do not require special server software for site maintenance. Simple changes to the CSS code are sufficient to alter design and layout on your site as needed.
- You’ll save time and money because you aren’t required to create a separate mobile version of every Web page on your site.
- Stats tracking will be more accurate because you can track a single URL instead of tracking traditional and mobile versions.
More than anything else, responsive Web design takes the hassle out of viewing content on a mobile device. Traditional Web sites force mobile users to zoom and scroll just to see what’s on the page. Responsive design eliminates those problems and creates a greater degree of consistency with the Web browsing experience on a mobile device.
Switching to responsive Web design is a matter of common sense. Tablet sales will soon number in the hundreds of millions each year while PC sales continue to decline. Smartphone users already make up a majority of mobile phone subscribers. Creating a Web page that fits the needs of these users is an essential step towards guaranteeing survival in the digital age.