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What is Responsive Design?

Standard Web Design vs Responsive Web DesignMobile is the hottest buzzword in online marketing, but one term that is just starting to hit the radar for a lot of businesses is responsive design. So what is responsive design, and how can it help your business?

Responsive design is the practice of building a website that adapts automatically to the user, regardless of what device or browser they’re using. Sound complicated? The implementation of a responsive design on a website takes some finesse, but the principles are pretty simple.

  • Layout: The layout boxes on a responsive design website aren’t a fixed size, but “fluid” -- based on a percentage of the current window size, for instance. So as you view the site on a tablet, on a phone, or on your laptop, the site will automatically scale to fit the available screen space.
  • Styling: Different styles can be applied based also on the screen size. For instance, if a screen is is less than 300 pixels wide, which might be the case on a smartphone, the site might display an alternate navigation, like a drop down, that works better on a narrow screen.
  • Image Scaling: The images on a responsive design site are scaled up and down in keeping with the rest of the site. Special coding ensures that the site images don’t push your content off the page or make it difficult for the user to find what they’re looking for.

This site utilizes responsive design to change the navigation and scale and reposition content depending on how the user is viewing the site. The images below show a view different views of the same page, as seen on a smartphone sized screen, a tablet and a regular desktop.

Responsive Design on Computer Monitor, Kindle Fire and iPhone5

These are all the same page, just displayed differently based on how the user is accessing the page.

So how can responsive design help your business?

Your customers are spending more and more time on mobile phones and tablets, each of which has a unique screen size and resolution. They’re also making flash judgments about which sites are worth their time, and a website that isn’t easy for them to use won’t keep their attention. Responsive design ensures you don’t chase away customers that aren’t sitting at a desktop when they come calling.

Is your website ready to welcome every visitor? Contact us to learn more about building responsive design into your site.

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