“Responsive design” is a buzz phrase these days. Everyone knows it’s the next big thing in web design, but what does it really mean?
Many websites use a “mobile site” for their smartphone visitors, which is usually a stripped-down version of a site in which the layout has been replaced with one more conducive to browsing from a small screen. When a visitor is using a smartphone or tablet, the mobile version is shown instead of the full site.
Responsive design means the creation of a website in that the same pieces can fit into a screen of any size. Usually, this means allowing for specific elements on the page to move around and change proportions based on the width of the visitor’s screen. Buttons that are arranged horizontally may shift into a single, vertical column. Sections of text adapt to the available width of the page. A good responsive design means that even your Android and iPhone visitors will retain all of the aesthetic integrity of your website, but in a more compact and usable form. A responsive design requires more care to implement, but there are several advantages.
1. Google prefers responsive design
On this page (https://developers.google.com/webmasters/smartphone-sites/details#rwd), Google displays their recommendations for building sites in a way that works well for smartphones and responsive web design is their preferred strategy. Google prefers this setup because there is only one version of your website to be crawled and indexed. When you use a mobile site, Google has to check the site multiple times with different devices to figure all the different ways it can look.
As time goes on, the list of mobile devices that can access your site is constantly changing. This makes it more difficult to properly detect them and serve up the mobile content correctly. It makes much more sense to show the same site to everyone, and adjust itself based on the size of the screen. And make no mistake – the tide is shifting quickly toward mobile visitors. It is wise to keep these smaller devices in mind when creating a new site.
2. Responsive design is low maintenance
One of the worst parts of having a separate mobile version of your website is making sure to keep each version up to date when edits are made. Content, menus, and entire layouts are often kept completely separate; this doubles the amount of work required when updates are made.
Even better than the savings of time is the mental energy spared when your site is responsive. There is no need to try and remember whether you added that new page to the mobile site. Make your updates once and be done with it.
3. Make your user experience consistent
Perhaps the best reason to use responsive design is to create the most consistent experience possible for every visitor to your site. With all of the time and money you invest in designing a beautiful website, it pays to put in a little extra elbow grease and bring that same aesthetic to every possible platform. Strategic Edge produces some of the most elegant and attractive sites on the web, and we can bring that same beauty to your phones and tablets. See the responsive design paradigm in action:
If you’re building a new website, it pays to do it right. We specialize in Responsive Design For Medical Websites. Contact our Seattle Medical Marketing Firm today and find out how you can put your best foot forward with a beautiful and fully responsive website.