If you are planning to design a new website—or update an existing site—then one of the terms you will likely hear is “responsive design.” What is it? Why is it important? Is it essential? When you are putting your time and money into a project like this, it is understandable that you want to know where your energy is going, and why. So, is responsive design a “nice to have,” or is it an essential aspect of your site? Find the answer to these questions and more below.
Before we get started, here is the most important statistic that you will need to remember: more than 50% of all web traffic now takes place on a mobile device. However, this doesn’t mean that you should be focusing all of your efforts into your mobile website design. In fact, when you work with an experienced web design company in Miami, you will be able to understand through each step of the design process why all of these important decisions are being made.
What Is Responsive Design?
Simply put, responsive design is the ability for your website to be accessed by any type of device, any screen size, and any browser, and your site presents a certain layout depending on these variables. You have probably visited a site on your smartphone that looked exactly like a desktop website, meaning that the text was tiny, images overlapped, menus were nearly impossible to navigate, and much of the desktop capabilities were broken. This is because the site did not use responsive design.
Responsive design has existed in one form or another since early on in the world of web design, when designers needed to test a site for Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and the other major desktop browsers. This was a notoriously frustrating process, but until 2008 the issue of handheld screens was not even on designers’ radars. Once the iPhone was unveiled, mobile browsing was introduced to the world and a new level of complexity was introduced to creating navigable websites.
Why Is Responsive Design Important?
Think about the last time you visited a website that was really hard to navigate. What did you do? If you are like most other web users, you probably backed out and picked the next page down on the search results page offering the same service. It is important that you anticipate the needs of your visitors as you are designing your site so that you do not automatically alienate 50% of your potential clientele because of an avoidable design mistake.
By making sure that you pay equal care to mobile and desktop design, you can capture much more web traffic and will provide your visitors seamless experiences when they switch back and forth from mobile to desktop. With features such as Apple’s Handoff, it is increasingly easier to move back and forth between devices, meaning that it is increasingly important to pay attention to all devices and use cases.
So… Mobile Desktop or Desktop Design?
If you were hoping to get an answer for one or the other, you are out of luck. If you are building a website in 2020, you need to provide simple navigation for all of your users. A good web designer will be able to give you a seamless responsive design for your site, meaning that you can continue to provide your existing customers and begin to provide new customers, with reliable service that you are proud to stand behind.
If you are wondering if you can cut corners and avoid mobile design to save some money, think about the value of each new customer you acquire, and ask yourself if you’d really like to cut that pool in half right from the start. If that doesn’t sound like something you are interested in doing, then take our word for it: make sure you focus on responsive design across all devices.