Responsive Website Designs

What is a responsive website design? Simply put it’s a design that changes intelligently based on what it is being viewed through. Responsive website designs have been around for some time but it hasn’t been until recently that they have become critical.

Who Needs a Computer?

Anyone watching tech news is aware that PC makers are having a tough go of it. Sales are way down and that’s not because everyone suddenly decided start exercising, making smoothies and meditating. It’s because many of those would be PC buyers are finding their tablets and phones are more than adequate to do what they need to do and are therefore no long in need of a computer for things like email, surfing and online shopping.

Small screen Web Design

Most of the functions that once were the sole domain of the PC can now be stuffed in your pocket and taken with you anywhere. This has lead to people spending more time online. I can’t count the number of police officers on “construction traffic control duty” I have observed updating their FB profiles or kids hanging out at the park sitting next to each other but choosing to communicate solely on their smart phone.

Whether you find this horrifying or awesome it means one very important thing within the sphere of web design: YOUR SITE MUST BE RESPONSIVE. And we don’t just mean live and working. We mean it must be able to morph into a design that shows the same information but accommodates the viewport (screen sizes or screen dimensions) your visitor happens to be using.

Middle of The Road is Not Good Enough

The author has been managing websites long enough to recall when all site design was based on an 800 x 600 screen and there was little effort to accommodate anything else. The biggest variable to deal with back then was how badly Internet Explorer was going to render our design. Design itself was a pretty straight forward process.  You would design with a middle of the road approach trying to accommodate the largest number of users.

That simply isn’t good enough anymore. Users have such wildly different screen sizes from 30″  high-res screens to 4 inch iphone screen and every odd size in between. If you go with a middle of the road approach you are leaving a very large and ever expanding users base unconsidered. Which means the experience they are likely to have on your website will not be good and increases the chance they will simply wander off to someone that did consider them.

So what does this mean?

  • For users it means a better experience, great transportability and constant connectedness.
  • For developers it means more work and compromise but better results and happier clients.
  • For companies wanting these features it mean slightly more cost for custom designs as your designer is in effect designing several sites.

Responsive design is a must NOW not become a must. If you don’t have a plan that you are actively using to implement a responsive website design you are losing customers to those of us that do. This site is no exception. Trying viewing it on your smartphone or tablet and notice how it changes. Or if your lazy (like me) just grab one side of your browser window and move it left. The site detects the change in the viewport and adjust accordingly to accommodate what it believes is a smaller screen size.

Pretty cool stuff these responsive web designs!


Author: Brian Marshall

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