In the U.S., the average number of devices connected to the Internet per household is 5.7 devices and growing (Source). Each of those devices might have a different screen size, run on a different operating system, and have different hardware.
This is the problem that “responsive” websites set out to solve. They get their name from the concept that the website content will adjust to different layouts based on how big your device’s screen is. On a desktop or laptop computer, because of the bigger screen real estate, you’ll likely have more options and controls. Whereas on a tablet or phone, the website may appear more stripped down to focus on the essentials.
To understand this concept even deeper, I’ll quickly explain how this technology works. Using CSS, the web design coding language that is in charge of styling websites, the developer adds a “media query”. Simply, a media query helps target certain device sizes so that it is easier to adjust specific content for them. The developer will define the range of device sizes (for example screens 0 pixels wide through screens 480 pixels wide might have certain rules).
At Coldbrew Creative, we use a framework called Foundation to help us manage the task of making websites responsive. It certainly does not do all the work for us, but it provides a grid that helps translate content between devices. But even with Foundation, many of the designs we create require custom media queries and complex styling that is tested across a variety of browsers. Not to worry, our experienced developers know how to do all of this.
Going back to the importance of responsive web design for your business, there are two big positives to going responsive. And there are absolutely no negatives (besides possible time and cost).
Firstly, your site will rank higher in Google search results. That’s a fact. Google recently added responsive websites to its page ranking algorithm, so if your site isn’t responsive, you could actually be losing a ton of potential visitors. Out of sight, out of mind.
Secondly, you can provide a better experience to your users. Having to zoom in on a non-responsive website is tedious. A study showed that Americans spend an average of 58 minutes a day on their smartphones. Only 14% of those 58 minutes (about 8 minutes) is spent browsing the web. Don’t make them waste time trying to read your website that is not optimized for their screen size.
Responsive web design is an industry-standard best practice. The chances for your site to show up on Google is higher simply by making the switch to a responsive website. And because first impressions matter, you don’t want to inconvenience your users.
If you are ready to make the upgrade to responsive, there are a few options. For those of you who use a site like WordPress, Tumblr, Squarespace, or any other site with “Themes”, you can search for themes that are responsive. Unfortunately, you will lose the design that you currently have and just keep the same content.
Another option is trying to do the media queries yourself for the entire theme. This is not recommended, as re-writing CSS styles can be challenging and rarely returns the results you want across different browsers.
At this stage, you have probably realized that your site’s design could be improved anyways. But maybe you can’t find the right “theme” or “look” that you want. Luckily for you, Coldbrew Creative offers professional web design and development services. We can work with you to design and develop a custom responsive website. Please note that we do not edit existing themes. All our projects start from scratch, so that we can create a unique, captivating experience for you and your users.
If you’re going to go responsive, make sure you do it right the first time. Work with a team that knows what they’re doing and cares about your project as if it’s their own.
Original Author: Nick Wittwer