Mobile Web Development: Understanding Responsive Design

Posted by on Apr 9, 2013 in Wordpress and Blogging Tips | 0 comments

Androids, iPhones and tablets, oh my! The good old days of 2006 when designers only had to worry about the devices with 1024px x 768px and 800px x 600px that accounted for over 75% of the market are gone. In today’s mobile world, that same market share is split amount eight different screen sizes, and none of them dominate the market by more than 20%. Additionally, that doesn’t even count the difference in viewport sizes on devices that can be used in landscape or portrait mode. Solving that problem is where responsive design comes into play.

What is Responsive Design?

Responsive design is simply creating a website that looks good on a wide variety of devices. That is the simple answer. The more complex answer lies in making it work. Web designers and developers have to plan their designs carefully and test them using either software that simulates different devices or on the actual devices. Just as designers have to test their sites in various web browsers to check for compatibility issues, they also have to test using different mobile operating systems such as Android and Apple’s iOS.

Does My Website Have to Be Responsive?

Well, technically, no. You can have a website that only works well on standard personal computers, as long as you are willing to ignore 25% or more of the potential visitors your website could receive. The market for smartphones and tablets has grown every year since 2007 and there are no signs it will slow down anytime soon. As a matter of fact, most analysts predict the number of mobile web surfers will continue to increase for the foreseeable future. Therefore, if you don’t have a responsive website, you are alienating more potential visitors every year.

How Do I Make My Website Mobile-Friendly?

The answer to this is different for everyone. For example, if you have an existing older website, trying to convert it to a mobile website is typically more expensive and more trouble than simply having the website redesigned. If you are building a new website, then your best option is to start from the ground-up with a responsive design.

For a new project, you should find a designer who includes responsive design as part of the project. If you are building your website on WordPress, we highly recommend you to try ElegantThemes as a lot of their themes are responsive. Some of their responsive themes are even built using ThemeMask’s concept that offers design in various topic.

Responsive design is more than just a buzzword in the web development industry. For today’s businesses, blogs and other websites, it is a necessity. Responsive design isn’t a trend that will eventually go away. Now that Pandora’s box has been opened, you can be assured that the need for websites that are viewable on a wide variety of devices is only going to become more important as time goes on. If you don’t want your website to get outpaced by your competition, then having a responsive website design is absolutely critical.


About the Author
Chris Scarborough loves to build ecommerce sites that are targeted to mobile customers. He incorporates responsive design with Bigcommerce checkout platforms and aims to create a stellar user experience.

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