It was a phrase first coined by Ethan Marcotte who wrote an article in 2010 to tackle the fact that there are so many different sized devices to view websites that it wasn’t practical to design a different website for each device and size. (Read the article here.)
In its most basic form Wikipedia says responsive design is a “web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling”across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors).” So this translates to… the website should adapt to the space it can fill and the size of the device that is viewing it. This does not mean a different version of the website, but the same website should re-configure itself automatically.
Should all websites be responsive?
Designing and building a responsive website has to be approached in a very different way to a static and set width website. It is more time consuming and requires much more planning so there is the potential to increase the costs of a website if designing from scratch. There are lots of WordPress themes out there that come readily responsive which can solve the problem quickly but is not a fully customisable option.
Also – a lot of the code required for responsive designs (html 5) is not supported by older browsers and so compromises may need to be made.
One of the main considerations is who your market will be. If you are aiming your website at users, who are likely to use mobile phones and/or tablets to view your website then responsive design is a must. And if you are building a website for the first time, and you want the design to endure for a few years then the investment will be worth it. Smartphone and tablet usage is on the increase for surfing.
I have a website – can it be made responsive?
Chances are, it will require starting from scratch. So use this opportunity to have a refresh of the design and layout at the same time. If your website is over 3 years old, chances are it will need to be visually re-designed anyway as your business may have developed and changed priority.
Do you do responsive website design?
I do! My own website is responsive so view this on a mobile device as well as a tablet and see how it adjusts.
If you are interested, it is worth us having a meeting to discuss how I can work to create a responsive design that works for you. So get in touch for a chat and I can run you through things in more detail!