Responsive Web Design; What Is It, and Is It Right For Me?

RWD, or Responsive Web Design is the hottest trend on the internet today. I have been following this closely since I first learned about it about 2 years ago. Incase you don’t know, RWD allows your website to fluctuate in width, taking full advantage of the screen size regardless of browser, device or operating system. For example, if you view a website on your computer, the images are usually large and the type is about book or newspaper size. Now, if you viewed that same website on a phone or mobile browser, a responsive website would shrink the graphics and enlarge the type - filling up the space of your screen so you can easily read the content. This enables the user to view your site with maximum visibility despite surfing on a phone, tablet or computer.

So, why is this so important and what’s the big deal? Here’s why. Web surfing is expected to be dominated by mobile devices by 2014. By next year, more people will be surfing the web with their phones and tablets then on their computers. This is why it is so important that your site look and function well on a mobile device.

Until recently, I was a bit cynical of RWD. From a marketing and branding perspective, I found that most responsive websites looked nothing like their desktop versions, leaving the company’s brand completely invisible. Often I even wondered if I was in the right place! Because of this, I usually recommended designing a single site that looked good on both a desktop and mobile device. That theory still holds true, but with some minor alterations.

With today’s new internet programming language like HTML5, the quality of RWD has grown to amazing heights. Now I see sites that keep their design and brand consistent over the range of browsers and devices. New programming has changed the web experience and now allows images and type to be displayed on a “percentage of browser width” instead of a fixed width like most desktop site have been created. This eliminates the need for a secondary mobile URL and even perfect for the wide range of desktop screen sizes.

Is RWD right for you? That is a question only you can answer. Just ask yourself, who views my website, who do I want viewing my website and are any of them mobile users? If any of those answers involve a demographic under 40 years of age, and you suspect they are viewing your site on mobile devices, you should consider responsive web design. Now, realize this can easily double or even triple the cost of your website, so is the return on investment worth it? Again, a question only you can answer.

People looking at your website on mobile devices is already taking place, the question is “what does it look like, and am I happy with it?” If you think you need an upgrade or would like to talk more about getting your site mobile friendly, contact us today and we would be glad to assist you.


This article was created by founder and creative director, Steven Bradley.