Responsive web design is a test of your flexibility. The strengths of humble bamboo versus the mighty oak tree in the face of gale force winds is a fable told to exhaustive lengths in an effort to address the greater power of flexibility over rigidity. It might fail to recognise that life has moved on considerably in the time since it was first conceived – it’s unlikely many trees are concerned about wind anymore, given the threat of chainsaws, axes, steamrollers, pollution, graffiti, council planners and global warming – but it does well to illustrate its point: supple and easygoing = good; solid and unmovable = bad.
It’s applicable to most things, but in the world of the web it highlights the importance of responsive web design. Responsive web design, as defined by Techrepublic.com, is web design “that will fluidly change and respond to fit any screen or device.”
Why is that a benefit? Because, like there isn’t just one type of internet user (nor one way to topple a tree), there’s more than one way to go online.
Countless reports and surveys have shown that mobile browsing is taking over as the public’s primary web-surfing platform. Responsive web design circumvents the need for multiple versions of your website to cater for the size and shape of different devices because it fluidly responds to the way that someone is viewing it. This blog, for instance, is responsive. How can you tell? Simply drag and resize the browser window. As the size of the window grows and shrinks, the webpage will adapt to ensure that all content remains coherent, ordered and readable.
Rather than producing a desktop site and a mobile site that caters to each individual device, responsive design simply creates one flexible, adaptive website. It’s the bamboo of the web design world.
And, if that wasn’t enough, consider some of these points:
Responsive web design delivers better UX
The most obvious benefit it affords you is that it delivers a uniform user experience for everyone – those on desktops, mobiles, tablets, etc. all see a website that follows the same design guidelines. Being able to cater for everyone means that your overall user experience is improved. Plus, you don’t have to invest in producing different versions of your site to cater for each device. Rather, your one, optimised site works for everyone.
Responsive web design saves you time and money
Having one site that responds to the device on which it is being viewed removes the need for multiple websites, which in turn reduces the amount of time spent on developing and maintaining each one. One website for all devices; one process of reviewing and maintaining it.
Responsive web design actually boosts your SEO
Prior to responsive web design, the most widely accepted way of catering for users visiting your site on different devices was to create different versions: a regular desktop version, and often a mobile version. While efficient, the process of doing this actually spreads your site over two URLs: your regular http address, and an m. site. Don’t worry, you don’t really have to know what that means other than that it effectively put your website in two places. Having one website in one place makes it better. In fact, Google recommends it.
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