What is a Responsive Website? Do I Need One?

2013 the Year of Responsive Web Design. –Mashable

There was a time not too long ago when we all looked at websites on the same type of screen – they 17”, 19” or even 21” – but they were all pretty much square.   And website developers designed for squares.

Today, square screens are rare, and websites are viewed on a dizzying array of screen sizes and shapes.  Sites are viewed on smart phones  and tablets – and the view can be changed from portrait to landscape by simply rotating the screen as it is viewed.What is a Responsive Website? Do I Need One? image responsive 300x237What is a Responsive Website? Do I Need One?

But everyone still expects to see well-designed, easy-to-read websites.

With tablet sales continuing to soar (49.2 million were sold from January to March 2012, up 124% from the first quarter last year) and smart phones becoming  ever more popular (over 100 million sold in Q1 2013) website owners must adjust to the fact that it is imperative that their websites function and look good on all devices. In fact, a Google survey in September 2012 showed that more than 72% of consumers wanted mobile-friendly websites.  67% said they were more likely to buy if a site was mobile friendly; 61% said they’d leave a site without buying if it wasn’t.

While one answer is to design different versions of a website to be viewed on different devices, adding code to the site that sends viewers to the various versions, it is a cumbersome and expensive solution.  Since there are actually two (or more) websites in play, any changes must be made to each site.  And as more screen sizes are added, more sites have to be developed.

The best answer (at least until something better is devised) seems Responsive Web Design.  Without getting too “techy,” one website is developed, and can be updated at any time.  By adding  code to the style sheet (using CSS3) that establishes rules for the website to follow, the content of the website is automatically manipulated to be presented in an organized, readable way on any device.

While the initial cost of these sites can be a little higher, the time saved in updating content, and the good will of viewers, who will appreciate having the best possible experience on whatever device they choose could be priceless to a business owner.

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