What is Responsive Website Design?

New Website on Various Devices
Oct 20

What is Responsive Website Design?

Responsive Website Design is a web design technique that makes online content from websites viewable & usable across all internet-connected devices regardless of the devices screen size.

It is a way of coding and designing sites with a fluid layout to ensure that the images and other elements adapt to the screen of which the website is being viewed. RWD builds on the “One Web” idea. A single URL can serve up content appropriately given the device that you may be using – be it a PC, a laptop, a tablet, a TV, a mobile phone, or even an Internet fridge. This is different from a “mobile friendly” website in that responsive responds to the device, while a mobile-friendly website functions on a mobile device but can appear the same way on multiple devices. These days responsive websites are pretty much standard – especially when building a new website – but there are still a number of businesses that don’t even have a mobile friendly website, 17% in fact. Here are some other great stats about Responsive Website Design when you have time.

When Nokia’s 9000 Communicator hit the market back in 1996, it created ripples in Finland and around the world as the first web-friendly handset. Since then there has been no looking back as improvements to the mobile web have been made drastically. With an increasing number of tablets, mobile phones, Internet-enabled TVs and other devices, device manufacturers have been forced to create different versions of the same website for the different devices. As a web designer for these early devices you needed to design around each specific device so it can be viewed appropriately. This is where responsive website design beats mobile website design outright. When you design a website responsively you are only designing one website as opposed to multiple websites for different devices.

How to test if your website is responsive

Unsure of if your website is responsive or not? Here’s a fun tip. In your web browser make sure your window is not full screen. Then, with your mouse “grab” the edge of the browser window by holding the mouse button down. Then drag the window to make it smaller. If your website is responsive you should see the elements within the site start to respond by moving around as the window gets larger and smaller. If it isn’t responsive the elements would stay put but start to be hidden as you drag the window.

Another way to test if your website is responsive is by “inspecting” the page. Once at your website URL right-click anywhere within the page. Scroll down to “inspect” in the menu and click on it. You will be shown a new window with the pages code displayed along with some other options. One of these options is the ability to view how your website would look on a variety of popular mobile devices, including iPhones, Android devices, tablets, etc. Every browser displays these options differently so just Google where you can find this option in the browser of your choice.

Examples of Responsive Website Designs


Why responsive website design is so important

Now, more than ever, your business needs a responsive website because more and more people are accessing the Internet through mobile devices. It is estimated that by the end of 2018 mobile devices will account for 87% of all internet usage, and according Invesp $132.7 billion dollars will be spent on online shopping through mobile devices by the end of 2018. Although content is king when it comes to web design, user experience is always important. A conventional website, when viewed on a mobile device, is slow and difficult to navigate. When surveyed 8 out of 10 people said they’d leave a website if it didn’t display properly on their device and 57% of people wouldn’t recommend a business to a friend or family member with a poorly designed site. Your website can quite literally cause your company to go out of business.

Responsive web design helps with branding as well. Keep in mind that part of branding involves providing followers and customers with a consistent and positive experience. You can also stand to make more money from ads with responsive design if your website utilizes them because the ads in a conventional website are usually not clearly visible on mobile devices and can malfunction.

Lastly, and certainly not least, an often overlooked benefit of responsive design is that it maximizes search engine optimization (SEO). One of the major factors that Google and other major search engines consider when determining ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) is good performance, particularly fast speed. They even sent out warnings to webmasters warning them that they will straight up penalize you in SERP’s if your website isn’t mobile friendly. It doesn’t get any more clear than that.

Even if you are doing a basic mobile web design, chances are that you are focusing on a small number of devices. The mobile device market is, however, so large that you would be forced to create a new mobile website every few months. Which is why responsive website design is so important in the design community. It’s a cheaper, future-proof design that will help your business become more visible online. You can check out some more examples of responsive website design in our portfolio. If you’re still unsure of the benefits of responsive web design please don’t hesitate to drop a comment below as we are always ready to interact!

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