Responsive Web Design

With the use of mobile phones on the rise, it is now more important than ever that websites and businesses are compatible with any make, size or resolution of device, be it a smart phone or tablet. It is becoming a growing trend that this generation struggle to function without their phones for either social or for work reasons. Phones are used so often for the internet as it is now so much more convenient to grab your phone, rather than to switch on your computer and wait for it to load up. Web companies can either redirect mobile users automatically to the mobile friendly site, or have the original website compatible for mobiles. Another way of solving this problem is responsive web design (RWD).

RWD literally means that the website can respond to any environment to which it is put in: computer, tablet or phone, in order to provide optimum viewing experience. This minimizes zooming, scrolling, panning and resizing which so many of us loathe to do when we just want quick answers. The initial website is designed using a grid feature, which then automatically resizes and refocuses all elements of the website for the chosen device, dependent on its size and capabilities. There are 5 different website patterns which can be used: mostly fluid, layout shifter, column drop, off canvas and tiny tweaks.

The Pros

RWD enables your website to be completely user friendly. It promotes consistency; customers don't want to see one design on a computer, and then a completely unrecognizable design on their phones. This enables customers to feel at ease and comfortable with your website, they haven't got to re-navigate around the website to find what they once found on their computer. Continuing your brand throughout the users browsing, on whatever device, enables them to have a positive experience with your company, promoting repeat business and increased popularity. Another plus to RWD is that the time customers spend waiting for sites to load and to be redirected is significantly reduced. The concept doesn't exist! Load time is quicker as the images are already resized to suit the device, no need to wait unnecessarily. Also, as there is only one website, you won't be redirected as you are already there. Any content on the website should be compatible with all devices. No one wants to see the message €incompatible with device, please switch to desktop version€. This will just anger us, and reduce the chances of people using your website and returning.

RWD also has its benefits for the company as well as the customer. Having only one website requires very little maintenance. If you edit your desktop website, it's a hassle and takes time to go to all of the different websites to edit them as well. It can all be done at once, saving time, money, and not to forget ensuring continuity through the different types of website formats.

The Cons

This is a new concept, and therefore it is going to take more time to create the site, more resources and not to mention a lot more testing. Sometimes this can seem more hassle than it's worth. The tools that we use when we are on computer are very different to that of a mobile; it's a mouse and keyboard vs. a finger. The two are in no way comparable. It is often found that functions that are used on a computer for example hovering over options, or a carousel feature, do not work so well on a mobile, causing the experience for your customers to be less pleasurable and somewhat frustrating. You also need to battle with the media queries in order to resize your content, as older systems and browsers do not recognize this, meaning that your website may not display correctly.

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