Long Live Responsive Website Design

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Responsive Web Design, or RWD is an often talked about topic of today’s web development industry. A few years ago, it was enough for a website to render attractively in four or five different devices, but things have been changed today.

As mobile browsing surpasses desktop browsing in 2014 with statistics continuing to increase. As of 2015, worldwide mobile phone internet user penetration was 52.7 percent. In 2017, figures suggest that more than 63.4 percent of mobile phone users will access online content through their devices.

A website must have a mobile marketing strategy in place to succeed. Moreover, the increasing variety of devices and screen sizes require designs to be more flexible than ever before. Earlier there were many options for serving mobile users, such as m-dot sites or mobile applications, the latest research shows that these solutions just aren’t as consistent or as cost effective as responsive design.


Long Live Responsive Website Design


What is Responsive Web Design or RWD?

It’s an approach that responds to the user’s environment. It builds a website design for viewing across a wide range of devices such as desktop computers, laptops, mobile phones and tablets. It adapts the layout of the website pages to the viewing device’s screen size, platform, orientation and resolution. So, the moment the user switches from a laptop to a mobile phone, the website automatically adjusts. As one website design fits all, there’s no need for separate and expensive website development for each platform.

What very few people know is that this design approach does not suggest displaying all of your content in front of the reader. It is about displaying the right content to the users according to the interaction. An insightful content strategy gives directions on what is absolutely necessary at the appropriate point based on the device. In this approach content gets primacy and always comes first as no retrofitting is involved to fit a predetermined web framework.
What does the RWD concept involve?


There are three essential elements involved.

  • Fluid Grid: Content is placed inside a grid which structures its contents by adjusting the size and position of elements within it in a predictable manner. The sizing of the page layout is done in relative units such as percentages. Absolute units like pixels and points are done away for fluidity. A fluid grid is designed with great care in terms of proportions. If the layout needs to be squeezed onto a smaller device or stretched across a big screen, all elements in the layout resize in widths in relation to one another
  • Flexible Images: These are images or visual elements placed within a flexible grid. They are sized in relative units so that they do not display outside their grids. The images can resize automatically.
  •  CSS Media Queries: It is a module that controls the styles to be applied to suit the characteristics of the device. Depending on the screen width of the device, the module applies different styles. It is possible to combine queries. This allows developers to test for several features such as width, height, max-height, device-height, aspect- ratio resolution and orientation.

With flexible images and media, images can load differently to suit the device. This is done either by scaling or by using the CSS overflow property.

The CSS overflow property makes scaling easy for images as well as video. Set the media’s max-width to 100 percent. The image shrinks or expands according to the layout fixed. Provide the best quality image you have in the size. CSS then adapts it to the right size. There’s one more way of scaling images. You can crop them with CSS. Applying overflow allows you to crop images dynamically to fit a new screen environment.


Advantage RWD

The advantages of Responsive Web Designing are so overwhelming that it is now standard practice. Designers have stopped asking Brand Managers if they are looking for a traditional website or a RWD.

RWD is the new method of designing a website more accessible by virtually everyone.

Users don’t like redirect, and downloading a dedicated app is a hard when they’re dealing with limited mobile storage.

A Good responsive design solves all of those issues. If a single set of images, grids, page and the like are automatically resized to fit the user’s device And if you only have a single codebase to maintain and update, it’s not going to cost as much money nor take as much time.


The advantages of RWD are many as given below:

  • Increases your audience, sales and conversion rates. According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, RWD sites achieve 11 percent more conversions than non-responsive sites on average.
  • Forces you to prioritize content for each viewport (especially smaller screens), which inevitably makes for a stronger site.
  • Truly future-proof since you don’t need to obsess over every new device screen size
  • Improves your SEO: Google officially recommends responsive sites.
  • Gives users uniform quality — no one wants to be a second-class citizen.
  • Enables you to be detail oriented, which is great because (if you’re a good designer) you care about details.
  • Mobile traffic accounts for more than half the internet traffic. With mobile handsets available with innumerable screen sizes and resolutions, one website fits all screen sizes
  • The development and maintenance cost of RWD is lower as multiple sites do not have to be maintained. A single responsive website saves you both time and money.
  • The same updated contents are being seen by all your visitors across all devices.
  • SEO is tough when two separate websites exist as content is duplicated across two different URLs.
  • For searches are made from mobiles, Google increases the ratings of the site. This is good news for improving your SEO
  • Mobile users do not like to download Apps that will lead them to the website. Nor do they like redirects
  • RWD sites achieve more conversions when compared with traditional, non-responsive sites


How to check if your website design is responsive?

How do you test your website? On opening the website on your mobile phone, if you observe that the site is seen the same way as on your PC it is probably not responsive. The browser has to zoom it out to fit, so the display looks the same but smaller. If the mobile phone shows an adaptation of the website page it is responsive.


The Overwhelming Response to Responsive Design

M-dot sites are fading. They are not popular anymore. Marketers are clearly shying away from developing separate adaptations for mobile phone users. It’s not about having to incur added costs on M-dots anymore. It’s not even about having to present a single consistent image or look. They have seen the writing on the wall. Numbers do not lie. Statistics prove that M-dot is on the decline.

  • According to Pure Oxygen Labs reports, last year M-dot sites fell 20 percent, from 79 percent in 2013 to 59 percent in 2014, while responsive and responsive websites increased 37 percent collectively.
  • Users visit the Desktop anyway — According to Web Performance Today’s research, about a third (35 percent) of users choose to go to the full site if given the option.
  • Visitors spend more time on the full site — The same research states 5.5 times longer. They also calculated that 79 percent of revenue from mobile sales came from users on the full site.
  • SEO/Google Issue— According to Google’s guidelines, responsive sites will likely rank better. Not using an M-dot is an automatic boost in SEO.
  • Redirect time — While M-dot takes the extra time of redirecting from your full site to the M-dot.
  • Mobile devices aren’t a single screen size — It’s ironic that what was once the greatest strength of M-dot sites is now its biggest drawback. M-dot sites are designed for a specific screen size, but mobile devices range from 320×240 for some smart phones up to 768×1024 (and beyond) for tablets. It doesn’t make sense to serve the same layout to all those screens.

Responsive Design is latest and flexible way of doing website designs today.
The single act of switching to the responsive website can give impressive business results.

Time to conversion has been reduced nearly in half and sales via smart phones and tablets have been increased up to ten times over in consecutive years. Now responsive website’s mobile conversion rate is higher than the old website’s conversion rate was for all devices combined.

The good responsive design is good for business. And if you want to be a good website designer, you must always design the website for the right business reasons.


RWD and the future

Responsive design in future should do more than building websites that adapt to different devices and their screen sizes. This is no longer cutting-edge.

It is a matter of time before users will demand good web browsing capabilities on wearables. Smartwatches and other smart wearables are already here. They are here to stay and only short-sighted developers will pass them by as passing fads.

With the limitation of min screen sizes on wearables, will there be new developments in the way users interact with their devices – voice commands or movements involving the hands or the eyes? Can audio technology deliver information and data to us?

In future, online experiences will need to respond not only to what prospects are using or wearing, but also to their location, the time of the day and also to what’s happening around them in real time.

Ready to Take the Next Step?


Rachna Jalan

Content Writer

Along with a Corporate Trainer, Rachna Jalan is a Content Writer. She has rich experience in web content writing, content creation, online research, content analysis, business writing, press release and newsletter. Specialized in writing content related to travel, health, fashion, lifestyle and technology, she offers a unique blend of creativity. Whatever style you require - witty, plain informative or spellbinding persuasive - she is your writer. Her strength as a writer lies in her capabilities of deep research and interactive writing style to add the interest quotient. She is an excellent and experienced trainer too. Her soft skills training programs are dynamic, highly interactive and fun educational experiences. Beyond writing, she loves to explore new places.

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