What is Responsive Web Design

Illustration of Responsive Web Design

The short answer? Responsive Web Design is the approach to have one single website that uses elements which behave and respond to a user according to the device/environment they are being displayed in. A responsive website needs to adapt itself for the best possible viewer experience regardless of the size of a user’s display.


Let’s take the example of a regular desktop or laptop computer, a website viewed on that system has much room to show off its different elements. Now if we see the same website on a small tablet or an even smaller 6 Inch Mobile screen, the elements don’t have enough room to show properly let alone create a pleasant user experience. This situation is further complicated if we factor in the possibility of a vertically or horizontally held screen.


It is where Responsive Web Design comes as our knight in shining armor. A properly thought out Responsive Website automatically adjusts its areas of focus based on the device it’s being viewed. As the years have progressed websites, in general, have gotten more and more complex not only because of the nature of the content being changed but also because a plethora of devices has been added to the internet and the world wide web. With these devices comes the problem of varying sizes of screens and their different abilities to show things. Gone are the days when there were a few standard size screens, and not much was there in terms of a proper User Interface (UI).


But what benefit does this have for my business?  Read on to find more…!!!


The Cost Effect!

The entrepreneurial minds usually are hard set on saving each penny and dime. Okay, yes! It all makes sense to have a website load and show relevant content according to the user’s device and preferences, but won’t it cost me more to get this kind of website? This is one of the major concerns for startups and small to medium businesses. The TRUTH! Is quite the opposite?


Imagine having a static website for every kind of device out there? It is possible but not probable, plus what if you wanted to add some critical update? It would take ages, and God knows how many precious hours.


Now imagine if you have just one static website that doesn’t care about its user’s interface. Would it be any good? Would it create the impact that you want to further whatever your goals are? Is this kind of a website really an excellent financial investment?


Now Imagine a single website that works best on all platforms, shows all the relevant information and details just at the right spots. Oh, and if you want to make changes, you have to change only one aspect, and of course, all this can be done by someone quickly and with minimal costs and time. Here’s the cherry on the top, Google also ranks websites with Responsive Web Design Higher.


How Responsive Design Works?

Now let’s take a little more in-depth look into how this is all done. We have established previously that Responsive websites need to re-position and resize their contents to fit the viewer’s screen size. This is done through the use of “Fluid Grids”. Historically a web designer would have scripted the website’s code “Pixel Perfect” specific to one resolution. But with Fluid Grids, you define how wide the columns should be in relation to the other columns, i.e. Column one should take 70% of the page while the second column should take the remaining 30%.


Similarly, Media Files are also resized in accordance with the proportions defined; this also ensures the media will stay within its specific column. You can pretty much apply the same concept to every element of the webpage including images, videos, text, layout etc.


Lazy Loading and Conditional Loading

Of course, there is a lot more that is going on in the background with Responsive Web Design. Lazy Loading and Conditional Loading are two critical techniques used by developers to enhance the user’s experience further.


Lazy Loading can be defined as a critical component of the website you must load – comments, images, other relevant material – but is not needed to be displayed for the viewer to start interacting with or consuming your website content immediately.


Conditional Loading is as the name suggests selectively loading elements of a website on specified conditions, i.e. device features. this allows for a more immersive experience for the user since the content and scripts are loaded according to the capabilities of the device.


Why should you invest in Responsive web design?

According to a recent PEW Study, 81% of Americans now own a smartphone. Similarly, another study shows that mobile phones amount to almost half of the web pages viewed in recent years. In short, to have a website – optimised to show the best version of itself – to your prospective consumers is the key to being successful today.


If it all seems a bit daunting, don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to get your website a responsive overhaul. From developing your website to hiring an expert, Help Square does all the heavy lifting while you focus on your end goal.

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