What is responsive web design?

In a nutshell, responsive web design (also referred to as RWD) allows your website to automatically adjust its display and layout to accommodate for any device’s screen size, be it a computer, tablet or smartphone. The result is an adapted design with no need for your visitor to strain and zoom in or out in order to read your content or view your media.

Identifying responsive web design

Until recently, a website’s design has been generally fixed in its size. This means it displayed the same general dimensions whether someone used a computer, tablet, or phone. Because smartphones and tablets haven’t always been as common, websites were traditionally designed with the average desktop screen size in mind – much larger than mobile screens making them hard to use.

With a smartphone you usually see a zoomed-out version of the entire website with very small buttons and even smaller text – usually illegible. If you use a tablet, you usually see a portion of the site, but are required to zoom in or out, and/or scroll horizontally to read full paragraphs of text and see complete images/media.

In the past, in order for the website to display properly on a smaller display like a phone or tablet, web developers literally had to create a completely parallel website with smaller dimensions for a smaller screen, such as a phone or tablet. The overhead of dual design and maintenance often wasn’t worth the time and money.

Adapting to change with responsive web design

The mobile revolution is upon us and most of us can attest that our small screen is almost constantly with us. With so many new web-browsing devices of all shapes and sizes, having a website that can adapt and respond well for the end user is becoming the expected standard.

Responsive web design isn’t just about making your site look presentable for your visitors. The biggest benefit comes from getting increased engagement by the visitor through the improved usability. An increase in engagement will most certainly result in an increase in sales or conversions for your website. On our sites, we often see up to half of our traffic coming from mobile devices!

If your site doesn’t load quickly, your opportunities for engagement shrink – your search rank suffers and the few that find you will likely bounce before you get to engage them. In a similar fashion, if a visitor is required to zoom in or out, or repeatedly scroll left to right in order to read your site content, there’s a good chance they’ll think that things are “broken” and seek out alternatives to your loss.

Back in late 2010, smartphone shipments exceeded PC shipments in the US. That’s 3 years ago! It’s also anticipated that tablet sales will exceed PC sales by 2017. What does this mean for the future of the internet and your website? It simply means that the majority of your site visitors will be using a device other than a computer. It’s time to ask yourself if your website and business are ready for the future.

Experts in responsive web design

Whether you are looking for a responsive marketing site on WordPress or a complete responsive web app for your enterprise, Surge has you covered. Our growing team of Sr. Developers located throughout North America are on the forefront of the technologies that are making the web accessible on any device.

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