What is Responsive Design?

Posted by on Mar 27, 2013

confab-responsive-designIt seems to be the latest buzzword and when I hear new buzzwords my brain shuts off.

I think it’s because so many new terms are just a spiffy new term for something logical folks have been doing all along.

That’s not quite the case with responsive design. It is an important part of your site design that can save you a lot of money and without it, you may well be frustrating your users.

Responsive design is simply the ability for the content of a website to automatically reposition and resize to look good on any size screen.

It doesn’t require a special address, any javascript, or any page reloading. You can see for yourself if any website uses responsive design by simply shrinking the size of the browser window (if you’re on a full sized screen). As the window shrinks, the content will adjust to properly fill the space. That’s responsive design. It’s actually a technique used when programming the Cascading Style Sheet(s) (CSS) for a website. Properly written, CSS will cause your website to behave in this manner. That’s all there is to it!

I was driving home a few months ago and decided to surprise my wife by picking up carry out from a restaurant on the way home. I figured I’d really impress the missus with my ninja skills by getting the timing perfect so I grabbed my iPhone and Googled the name of the restaurant. Their site was at the top of the results and I clicked on it. What I got next was all microscopic print and images completely laden with buttons such that any attempts to zoom linked me to all sorts of different pages. I cursed, linked and swerved all over the place.

Had that site been responsive, the restaurant name and phone number would have been the most prominent things on a screen properly fitted to my iPhone and tapping the phone number would have called the place. Doesn’t it seem stupid that anything else happens?

Unfortunately, only a tiny fraction of websites work the way they should on smaller screens. Today, web traffic is coming from those smaller screens many time more than it was even a year ago. If you even have a customer trying to reach you using a smartphone, you will frustrate them unless you address this issue. Call me at (920) 540-5604. I can help.