What Responsive Website Design Means for You and Your Customers

Published on 2nd Feb 2017 by Martin Gaik

There is no doubt that the internet and connected devices evolve at a crazy pace. It seems that every day a new smartphone or tablet is introduced to the market, pushing the boundaries of convenience and interactivity. It is hard to believe that the first ever web browser appeared in 1990. It seems that every electronic device is now connected to the internet, including our TV sets and watches.

With so many interfaces and operating contexts, the web content has to adapt and so do the businesses trying to compete for customers' attention. We still use TVs for entertainment and desktop computers for work, but there is an overlap that grows steadily. It is only a matter of time before all our interactions (commercial or otherwise) will be dominated by an on-screen interface. It doesn't matter whether we consider it good or bad. People vote with their wallets and convenience always wins. Who on earth would prefer a trip to the supermarket over a new show episode on Netflix?!

If you want your business to stay competitive, your online presence has to be accessible on most devices connected to the internet. Some people will browse your pages on their TV while relaxing before the next episode of their favourite show. Others will search for it on their smartphones during a boring commute. This is why responsive design is paramount to your business' success.

How Responsive Web Design Started

In the past, website designers created pixel perfect websites, that looked exactly the same on every screen. Most screens were of the same size, resolution and orientation, so there was no need to consider the display in the design process.

As soon as the smartphones started showing up, gaining popularity, browsing websites on them became a chore. The amount of scrolling required to read a whole blog article was simply too much. This is when designers started creating special mobile sites alongside the full-fledged websites. These mobile sites were downgraded versions of the main site, displaying only part of the content (usually text only).

This wasn't a great solution. Mobile devices quickly became very popular and treating them as an afterthought wasn't going to work. Additionally, having two websites to update (the main one and a mobile one) was too complicated and time-consuming, especially for the bigger sites. There had to be a better way. This is when developers started working on new solutions, to build websites that would look great on any screen. It took years to create new development standards that could provide a good balance between compatibility and simplicity.

What Does Responsive Design Mean

In a nutshell, responsive web design is an approach to developing websites that respond to different devices by providing the correct content for the browsing context. Responsive web design doesn't simply scale the same content on every screen. It takes into consideration what a website visitor might be looking for on a specific device.

For example, a smartphone visitor might be less interested in large photos than a TV visitor, so giving the text more prominence might be a good idea. It all depends on the nature of the website and different contexts it can be accessed in.

Why Should You Care About Responsive Website Design?

It is common sense... the better you cater to your audience, the more likely your visitors will stay on your website and convert by sending an enquiry or placing an order. If that is not enough of a reason for you, consider that search engines like Google boost mobile friendly responsive websites in their rankings.

There is simply no reason to stick to an old, incompatible website design. Even if migrating your content sounds like a nightmare, postponing it will make the situation worse. To avoid the big expense, pick a web development provider that doesn't charge for such updates. All Aeronstudio customers know that they are covered whenever a new trend or requirement hits the mainstream - we do not charge for updates and redesigns.  

What Comes next for Responsive Design?

New devices show up constantly. The recent smartwatch revolution is a good example. The tiny screens are dominated by the native applications at the moment but will open up for the web-based experiences very soon. Same goes for smart television and household appliances. It may still sound like science fiction, but it is only a question of time before you will be ordering your favourite coffee directly on your coffee machine connected to an online store. 

We are entering the Internet of Things (IoT) era and the way we interact with the web will change dramatically over coming years. Autonomous cars are just around the corner... and guess what will the passengers do during the long and boring car journeys? That's right, they will browse and shop online, giving your business yet another context to compete in.

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