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What on earth is Responsive Web Design? (and why should I care?)

Responsive Website DesignIn the ever-changing world of the internet, there is always a lot of jargon. Some of it is clear-cut, easy to understand and some doesn’t make sense to the regular site owner at all. One of the most talked about points in the last couple of years is the topic of “responsive website design”. Just a quick Google search will show that it has been the topic of many blogs and arguments over that time but with the release of some recent statistics into internet usage, it is something that needs to be addressed by all website owners and managers.

So what is it?

Put simply, Responsive website design is the ability of a website to change itself to suit whatever viewing platform it is being accessed from whether it is viewed from a desktop computer, tablet or smart phone. The goal is to provide the best viewing experience for the site visitor. Dependent on the device, all images should resize (or be removed), content should expand/contract and menu buttons must change from clicking with a mouse to touching with a finger. A site that can do this is known as being “mobile friendly”.

It’s important to note here that this is not just about creating a site that resizes. It’s about buttons, images, text size and content. Site visitors are less likely to spend as much time on a mobile site as they are on a desktop site and the amount of content needs to reflect this too.

How do I know if my site is mobile-friendly?

Simply open your webpage on any tablet or smart phone. If the site displays exactly the same as it would on a desktop computer, your site needs to be converted. Keep in mind, some sites will display the same on a tablet depending on whether you hold the tablet in portrait or landscape modes.

My site is not currently mobile friendly (non-responsive) – should I be concerned?

Yes, you should. According to online business analytics experts, comScore, statistics released early in 2014 show that for the first time ever, mobile internet access surpassed desktop access. Mobile devices accounted for 55% of Internet usage in the United States with apps making up 47% of Internet traffic and 8% from mobile browsers. It is estimated that by 2015, the number of mobile devices in use will equal the population of the planet.

Count on these statistics to keep leaning further and further in favour of mobile devices. This means, that if your site is not responsive and mobile friendly, you could potentially miss out on a lot of conversions (sales) through your business site.

Alright, you’ve convinced me. I need my site to become “mobile friendly”. Is it expensive to do?

A change to a responsive website design does not need to cost the earth. In addition, if your site has already been built with a mobile friendly framework, it can be quite easy to achieve.
With WordPress-based sites, such as those created by the team here at Rusty Mango Design, there are a couple of options.

  • Your site can be “re-themed” with an alternative mobile friendly design allowing all the content to remain exactly the same (you don’t have re-do the lot!). This option, although not quite as expensive as the creation of a new site, can involve a fair amount of work if you require a custom theme to be created.
  • Alternatively, you can install a plug-in that automatically converts your current site according to the device on which it is being viewed. This is probably the cheapest alternative, taking only a couple of hours to install and adapt.

If your site has not been created with a Content Management System (CMS) framework like Joomla or WordPress, your web designer “should” still be able to give you advice on the most appropriate (and cost effective) way to get your site “mobile friendly.

Who can help to get my site mobile friendly?

If your site is not currently mobile-friendly and you would like more information about your options, get in touch with us at Rusty Mango Design. We can take a look at your framework (free of charge) and let you know what the best course of action and the costs involved.

 

Tropical Coast Web Design