What is "Responsive Web Design" and do I need it for my website?
John takes a closer look at responsive web design and why it may or may not be important for your website
SAN diego, CA (Jan 9, 2012) – Usability is something that has long been the catalyst to many new ideas and requirements in regards to web design. New to the principle of Usability (as Wikipedia.org puts it, "an object's perceived efficiency or elegance" – source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usability or simply put, even a third grader can figure it out) is responsive web design.
If you're new to the term, responsive web design, in its simplest terms, is a web design approach that allows the designer to design for multiple platforms such as standard personal computers and laptops to hand-held devices such as iphones, droids, tablets, ipads etc. and all elements of importance that are on the web page are visible and functional. In other words, if I'm able to view a website on my PC, I should also be able to view and navigate through this same website on my Iphone, droid or tablet.
For example, take a look at the image above. If you notice what is visible on the large PC in the back and what is visible on the tablet on the left as opposed to what is visible on the phone in the front and the larger tablet on the far right. This is called "degradation" which means the design will flex and degrade to, or display, not every part of the page, but the most important parts of the page: the better the design, the nicer the degradation. This is what responsive design is all about.
Two aspects to consider in responsive web design
Now there are two aspects to responsive web design you must consider. And of course, the design of the page is what's going to determine what elements and content are going to display as the web page degrades. It's become a bit of marketing science and research because, as the page loads on the PC, naturally the entire design and all of the content will be visible. The first aspect is, when it comes to displaying your webpage on Droid or Iphones, you need to have the most important elements of your site in a simple format. In other words, perhaps not every element of your website which is visible on your PC will be visible on your cell phone or tablet. A good plan of action, even before you discuss things with your development company is to let them know what exactly you would like displayed on the website, before and after degradation. This will create a smoother development process and a good plan that you and your web development company can stick to. The second aspect is the cost of developing your website as a responsive website. How much does a responsive website cost? Well, this you would have to discuss with your web development company. Because there is a smarter website development process to consider, and other things to ask yourself such as which particular design elements will be featured, what is to be degraded when it is displayed on a phone, and what functionality is necessary for the site, in other words, is it a store, a news site, a photography site etc, the price is going to reflect all of these features. In other words, it's not your standard website anymore.
Should I specifically ask my website company for a responsive website?
A smart professional Web Design company will not automatically create a responsive website for you without discussing the details first. Because there are design elements to consider, which elements will degrade, which will disappear when viewed on a smaller device, your website has to be well thought out. Remember, because your website is cross-browser friendly (Fire Fox, Internet Explorer, Chrome etc.) doesn't automatically make it cross-platform friendly (Droid, iPhone, Tablet, iPad, PC, Mac etc.). If your business requires a responsive design and its important to have this design for efficiency and functionality, make sure to specifically ask your web company about designing and coding your website with responsiveness in mind. There are many businesses in many different industries that don't require a responsive website, so a responsive website will not always be automatically created. But if you think your business requires access from many different devices, then specifically ask for a responsive website design from your web design company.
If you are ready to get serious with your website, you need to consider every platform your website will be viewed. You take artists like Madonna and Prince and one thing that keeps them popular is there chamelion ability to, not only re-invent themselves, but to also stay up with what's new and fresh, this way they always appear hip and young to newer audiences. This same approach is important for your brand, your website, your companys' overall look and feel and the feeling you give off to your visitors.
Contact Appeal Media to find out more about responsive web design for your business website!
About Appeal Media - San Diego Web Design Company
Appeal Media is an independent, full-service digital agency focused on building durable connections between brands and consumers. Responsible for strategy, creative, technology, social, mobile, digital product development, search and analytics, the agency is a partner with some of the world's favorite brands, including Adobe, Sony, Sprint Wireless, and Cisco. Founded in 1997 and headquartered in San Diego, the company is recognized as an Award Winning company of the Webbys.