Mobile web design – does your site respond?

April 29, 2013

Now you might be thinking that I’m referring to those annoying moments when, for no reason at all, the egg timer shows up uninvited and spoils that episode of Hollyoaks that you were halfway through on YouTube…?

But when I say ‘responsive’ I’m talking about ‘Responsive Design’. This means websites that are designed to respond to mobiles, tablets and other hand held devices, as well as your PC or Mac. Apparently there are now more people accessing the web using a smartphone than a good old traditional desktop computer. This means that all that small text you have on your website is now even smaller when it’s displayed inside that tiny touch screen. And worse than that is all that money you spent on those Flash animations of the special offer price that zooms in from the side and flashes red and yellow – wasted on those dedicated users of Apple products.

So what do we do? Well, we could design and build a mobile website – a website created especially for handheld devices. A website that knows when the site is being summoned by an iPhone or Blackberry. A website that displays the same information in a different way, so essentially you need two different websites that have the same content. So you need a website that you have to pay for twice? Up until recently it was a question of ‘will I get people viewing my website on a mobile phone?’ and ‘ is it worth the extra cost for a mobile site?’. This isn’t really a consideration anymore, if you get traffic to your website then there’s an almost certain chance that a good proportion of that traffic is waving your website around on a handheld device.

There is, however, a solution… Responsive web design.

Responsive design is fairly self explanatory, it is design that responds to its environment. So imagine a website, a single website, that when viewed on 1280px wide screen shows Flash animations, plays music and shows rows of images. Now imagine viewing that same website on a 480px wide touch screen device made by Apple. Instead of taking the time it took the Bullseye board to revolve to download all those images, and then showing a disappointing gap where the Flash should have been, it doesn’t bother trying to download all those images or the music. It replaces the pointless ‘download the latest plugin’ link with a static image and makes the whole thing fit nicely inside the viewport.

This is responsive design. One single website that reacts sympathetically to the screen size that is displaying it. One single website to keep up to date. One single website that does its job no matter what the device. And one single website to pay for. With more and more people accessing your company website on the small screen then maybe its time you thought about a website upgrade. Men have been saying it for years and women can no longer deny it – SIZE MATTERS. If you would like to know more about mobile website design or responsive design and how it can work for and your business then please get in touch.

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