It is almost impossible for anyone not to be aware of the current need to ensure that any website, especially one that represents a business’ ‘Internet real estate’ is properly optimized for mobile users (Mobile responsive design), who now represent more than 50% of the traffic attracted to any website. In fact, since Google made a change to their search results that will actually warn a mobile user that the site they are considering heading to is not compatible with the mobile device they are using it has become an absolute must.
However, when you begin talking about mobile devices, that term covers a lot of different gadgets. There are smartphones, with each brand having its own quirks and limitations, tablet PCs, e-readers like the Amazon Kindle and some people even use portable gaming devices such as the PSP Vita or the set top streaming box in their home to access all kinds of Internet content. So a site must be able to cater to all of these devices and more and still provide a great experience for traditional desktop PC users, something that sounds like quite a tall order.
The Benefits of Responsive Design
One option available to anyone commissioning a website is to have a separate mobile site created to direct ‘on the go’ users to. These however are very plain, basic and their functionality is very limited compared to a traditional website. Unimpressed by mobile sites, one new solution that an increasing number of people are opting for is responsive web design.
The ideas and processes behind responsive design were first was first created by one Ethan Marcotte. As a young up and coming web designer he works with some big name clients, most notably the venerable New York Times. Responsive web design was created out of his brief to redesign the newspaper’s website so that all users were offered the best possible browsing experience. With his idea successfully implemented he wrote a book on the subject and since then web designers everywhere have followed his lead.
The first question that those new to the idea have is, of course, just what is that this newer concept do? What problems does it solve may be a better question to ask.
As previously mentioned the term mobile device covers a lot of ground. This variety of devices means having to address different screen resolutions, hardware capabilities and even different web browsers. Returning to the world of the desktop PC things are changing there to. Desktop PC’s screens are getting larger, with some as big as 27″. All of the people using these different methods want a great experience, so responsive design makes use of a series of coding processes that actually makes those desires a reality.
We sure you are thinking that all of this is great but who really wants to pay for a full website redesign? If you happen to choose a website that makes use of WordPress as a content management system implementing a responsive design is simple, as themes that have all of the right characteristics are readily available. No coding is necessary, there is no steep learning curve involved as nothing about the actual content creation process changes. It’s just another reason why choosing a WordPress based website, no matter what kind of site you want to build, is such a sensible move.