So what’s the big deal?
The term responsive means the site template automatically responds to the size of the browser and reformats the website content. By shifting content elements and menus, the layout is automatically optimized to work on big screens, small screens, tablets, and cell phones.
Before responsive designs, web designers had to create separate design templates for mobile devices and tablets. This was always difficult because apparently no two mobile devices are the same size. If you developed a site to look good on an iPhone, it may look awkward on an Android device. Also, creating multiple templates cost more money and required more maintenance every time we needed to change the template.
As more users access the web via mobile devices, the challenges multiplied. Even within a single vendor, different models of the same device have different sized displays. Nobody is standardizing screen sizes — they are getting bigger and smaller at the same time.
Rather than continue to spend our client’s money creating a dozen different design templates (in hopes of hitting the major models), we are now developing single templates that can detect the browser size and automatically reformat the content to best display on that device. This will optimize not only for today’s devices, but also for whatever new sizes come out in the near future.
It really does matter
Now that a majority of web traffic is coming in through non-desktop computers, it is critical that your website display properly on alternate devices. A shocking number of younger adults use their smart phones as their primary internet access device. If your site still tries to display the whole desktop view of your site on their phone, they will skip it and move on to another vendor.
The volume of mobile web usage is so high that now Google even takes your mobile-friendliness into account when ranking search listing for mobile users.
Responsive design is the best solution available today for making your website usable across all of today’s devices. It will reduce your maintenance costs and even improve your Google rankings for mobile users. It’s time to update your site to a responsive design.