Responsiveness and Why You Need it

“Responsiveness” is specifically about web design and how it fits into your Internet strategy. The Internet is in a “post-PC” phase - the advent of the smartphone, the tablet, and other mobile devices means that web designers need to work harder, and smarter in order to deliver for their clients.

So What is Responsive Web Design?

It's far more than a buzzword. The idea behind a responsive website is that it will deliver the right experience across a range of platforms, without the need for developing separate sites for each platform. Sure it takes a little longer to write the code but it takes far less time than developing separate sites.

The whole idea is about scalability – meaning that you'll find a responsive website excels in 3 areas:

• Layout

• Images

• Queries

You must have a flexible layout so that the overall “grid” of your web design can firstly resize to fit the user's window (and every single device has a different screen size nowadays). Secondly, it needs to be able to move content around so that it works properly on the page and doesn't overlap, or impede the user’s experience.

It may sound absolutely obvious but once you have a responsive layout, you need to make sure images are responsive too. If your images cannot either be resized or dynamically cropped when your content is served, it won't look right.

Queries are like conditional comments. In essence they allow you to serve different style sheets for different devices. You can achieve the same overall CSS cascade of control over the way users view your site, but host them all as a single entity.

If your developers are building for responsiveness, it will be your customers that benefit. They will be able to rely on you to deliver the right experience no matter how they access your web presence. It's been demonstrated that there's a strong correlation between loyalty and a consistent user experience. Given that smartphones are taking over the world, and tablets are bringing a whole new audience to the internet, you can't afford to rely on a PC-based web clientele any more. You have to change the game and go where the customers are, and that means ensuring that your web presence is fully responsive to their needs.