There’s a good chance you’re reading this blog post on your phone or a tablet. If you’re not, you probably still use your phone to scroll social media, search for information, and look up websites. In fact, 52.64 percent of web views of total web traffic comes from mobile devices.
Understanding this statistic matters when you’re building a website. To succeed in the business world, your site needs to be able to automatically adjust itself to fit the dimensions of a device it is on. This is what responsive web design is all about.
What is responsive web design?
Let’s consider the opposite of responsive web design or a “fixed” website. This website probably looks great on a desktop or a laptop computer. When viewed on the desktop, the site might have multiple columns that are easy to read. However, when a user tries to open it on their phone, they must zoom in and scroll in ways that are difficult.
On a smartphone, these websites are often slow to load, large pictures may break up the text, and certain elements may be blocked.
In contrast, a responsive website automatically adjusts in a way that makes viewing the content easy for the users. For example, this website converts multiple columns to one long column. It readjusts photo sizes and makes everything visible on one page.
How does responsive web design work?
Responsive web design uses proportions rather than pixels. For example, if your site has 4 columns, you denote how much of the site each column should take. When converted to mobile, those proportions remain consistent. In addition, a fluid design works better on a variety of screens with different resolutions.
This design also uses a tool called breakpoints. Also called media queries, this design trick allows the website to gather data about the width of a user’s device. The website uses this data to apply specific CSS styles to fit that width. Breakpoints can be set to any size. However, most designers follow standard width sizes for desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones. In other words, they tend to use the sizes 1200px, 768px, 480px, and 320px.
Why small businesses need to switch to responsive web design.
Check your web traffic. If your website is like most sites, then a significant number of users are coming to your site through mobile devices. In fact, studies show that users are quick to leave sites that are slow, difficult to use, or are a pain to navigate. Responsive web design doesn’t completely eliminate all of these problems (sometimes, you just need an overall website tune-up!). However, it often will improve these problems.
As a small business owner, you know that bringing people to your site can be especially challenging. Not only does responsive web design play role in Google ranking, but it also keeps people engaged once they’ve found you.
Easy ways improve your responsive web design.
1. Think mobile first.
It’s tempting for many people to build their website from the perspective of a desktop user. As a result, the website often becomes filled up with lots of writing and photos. However, scaling down to a mobile site is often more challenging. Instead, build your site with a mobile mindset. Adjusting your site to a desktop won’t be as challenging.
2. Remember what’s important to users.
Why are people coming to your site? What do you want to take away? Focus on communicating what matters, and try to stick to that. If you are unsure how to do this, enlist the help of a copywriter.
3. Optimize your images.
Large images cause websites to slow down, and they don’t always convert well to other devices. To manage this, use a service like Adaptive Images.
At Your Imprint, we never stop having fun. Web design is one of the best parts of our jobs. If you need help building a stunning, functional website, get a quote. We’ll help you put on a show!