Today users of web pages can access them from different media: a desktop PC, a mobile phone, a tablet, TV, etc. So, what are the pros and cons of responsive web design?

Firstly, for the purpose of this discussion, tablets are not considered as being mobile devices, in the sense that they typically have bigger screens, and the majority of users anticipate the rendering of pages optimized for PCs when browsing the internet. So, unless you offer specific tablet-optimized content, users won’t expect to see anything other than your regular site content, certainly not a mobile version.

We asked experts offering web design in Bristol about the importance of responsive web design; here’s what it is and why probably your website should be responsive:

Responsive web design

This type of design aims to become an industry standard for the massification of mobile devices, such as smartphones, which allow access to websites anywhere. The responsive design of a website, so that it works well, has to be centred on the user. Responsive web design is one of the latest trends in design. Typically, it plans, designs and produces always with the mobile site at the beginning (Mobile First). The most complex user is the smartphone, because of its modes of use and the environment in which users consume the content.

A design philosophy

But responsive design is not a simple addition to a website, it is a philosophy of the development of the client layer (front-end) that must be conceived from the beginning of the design of a website. It covers so many details that it is impractical for some companies and really complex for others. You have to take into account screen size, movement of elements according to width, advertising criteria and editorial criteria. Responsive Design is a system based on the current web standards HTML5, CSS 3 and JavaScript that allow websites to perfectly adapt to the screen of the user who is viewing them.

Driven by mobile

Responsive Design has become very fashionable with the rise of mobile navigation, but it goes much further; it is about websites with intelligent designs (smart design) that facilitate the usability of the site depending on who is viewing it. The fundamental idea is that there is only one HTML version of the website: it is through the use of different CSS and JavaScript events that all possible screen resolutions are covered.

The images, videos, content and static elements that are part of the template are displayed in one way or another depending on the device that the user views the site on. It is not the case that once the finished website design is ready it should be tweaked according to how it will vary with different screens and devices, rather, the responsiveness is inherent in the actual physical design of the website, how it will behave.

Optimizing user experience

The biggest challenge of responsive design: it is essential to optimize the user experience for each device. No matter how much better smartphones have become at web browsing with respect to mid-range phones, the user experience when loading a conventional website without modifying any parameter for use in mobile is, at least, minimally optimal. The type of website is also key among considerations. For example, an ecommerce site must be adapted to be responsive, for sure, but it may not be necessary for a blog to be responsive to the same degree. A lot depends on the objective of each site.

If your business generates enquiries or sales through mobile, then you should make sure your website is fully responsive and optimized for smartphones. Mobile browsing, and transactions, are only going to increase in popularity in the coming years.

Is your website responsive enough?