Smartphones have come a long way. They are now an indispensable part of our lives. No matter what industry or work sector we belong to, smartphones are something we can not do without, not only with respect to connectivity but also ensuring the smooth flow of operations and staying updated.
Almost 2 billion people currently access the internet through their smartphones, which is 51% of the total global base of 3.9 billion mobile users: for those who are marketing their companies on digital platforms, it is mandatory to remember the stats. Here is why,
To create an authoritative brand image of your company online, you must have a website. Now, consider having to open a website that is primarily made for desktops or laptops. It is inconvenient and frustrating to swipe on your screen, trying to adjust the web page and read the content.
With audiences judging a website within 50 milliseconds of opening it, we can not risk causing inconvenience in accessing sites on mobile devices. And that's where a responsive web design saves the day. They are entirely responsible for keeping your audience hooked to your website.
Now that we know why responsive web design is essential let's learn more about them.
What is Responsive Web Design?
We just learned that our audiences access websites and other online platforms with mobile devices besides laptops and desktops.
The bottom line is to have a single website that can adapt to multiple browsing devices, starting from laptops, tablets, and smartphones. There is a lot of pressure on web designers to design a website that is responsive to the size of the device that it is seen through.
Initially, the idea of creating multiple stylesheets for different screen sizes was in vogue. However, it takes a lot of time, energy, and resources, which is barely affordable for developers and designers.
Yet, thanks to the advancements, a single stylesheet can be developed to service sites on multiple devices, which reduces the designers' and developers' labor to deal with so many codes.
Thus, a responsive web design is an approach where a web designer develops a single web page that automatically resizes itself according to the screen's size. In this approach, the web page's design and development respond to the user’s behavior and environment, ensuring a smoother user experience.
What does Responsive Web Design look like compared to traditional layout?
The point of having a responsive website is to have one site that resizes itself on different devices. If we consider a traditionally fixed website: when you open one such website on a smaller device, you are compelled to scroll side-to-side to view certain elements that are hidden from your sight. The images often get distorted in this effort.
It becomes further problematic for tablets because, for most of them, it can either be viewed in landscape or portrait orientation. For smartphone users, the navigation becomes even more challenging with their tiny display. It may increase the load-time, and large images may also break the layout.
With a responsive web design, the tablet version can automatically adjust to display only two columns, making the content easy to display and navigate.
For the smartphone, the content may be stacked vertically and can appear in a single column, or the user may be offered the option to swipe over to view other columns.
Instead of getting cut off or spoiling the layout, the media files resize automatically, maintaining an attractive and user-friendly interface.
How does a Responsive Web Design work?
The basis of all responsive websites is the use of fluid grids. Instead of pixels, all page elements are sized by proportion.
For example, consider having three columns: When it comes to a responsive design, you would consider how wide one column should be compared to the other two instead of determining how wide each one should be.
Media files are resized relatively as well. So, an image can stay within its column or relative design element. The webpage first detects the device that it is viewed on and adjusts to the format accordingly. Thus, users experience a more personalized approach.
Studies have shown that 57% of internet users refuse to recommend a business with a poorly developed website, and 85% of users seem to believe that a web design on mobile should be equally good or better than that on the desktop.
Responsive website designs make sure you are able to optimize the user experience by providing them with a design that adapts to their actions and preferences; while eliminating the need for designers to design differently for every new gadget in the market.
The following are responsive web design benefits:
- Designers can save hours of time and energy invested in developing different sheets.
- For back-end developers, it leaves only one site to be updated. The entire project becomes a lot simpler when all the content has to go to the same place.
- It means having all the CSS codes in one place for front-end developers, so there is no need for multiple edits for a single tweak.
These points are not to deflect you from the idea of choosing a responsive design for your website, but to give a clear picture of how it still has scope for improvement, like any other concept.
They are not so much like disadvantages as limitations that can be overcome with time and technological advancements. The following are the shortcomings of a responsive web design:
- When it comes to loading time, audiences are quite impatient. 47% of total users expect the average loading time to be 2 seconds. Responsive web designs are not helpful in this context: they have no load-time benefit for the users.
- The process of resizing the images, made for laptops and desktops, to fit the display of tablets and smartphones puts pressure on mobile devices' power.
- Some of the mobile browsers do not support media queries. However, the growing popularity of responsive web design is inspiring developers to fix this issue.
Why should you switch to a responsive web design?
The final dilemma is whether or not you should switch to a responsive web design. Now, let's consider the website traffic and the ratio of people accessing websites through mobile devices. We will realize the need to develop a layout that is suitable for smaller screens.
The ideal situation would be if we had the time and resources to build separate sites optimized for mobile devices. However, that is not the case. So, we have to resort to the nearest plausible solution, which is a responsive design.
This is certainly not the ultimate solution to digital consumers' continually changing needs, but it can significantly improve user experience. Additionally, it helps the designers and developers cope with the coding by reducing the amount of coding.
Designers can now build custom solutions for more users on a broader range of devices, using responsive design. With every custom design, you offer a better user experience, and with better user experience comes more traffic. Thus, it is a win-win for both your designers and your business.
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