Responsive website design — is your website future-friendly?

Sometime soon, your customers and constituents are going to be accessing your website via smartphone and tablet more often than from their desktop or laptop. Is your website ready for that?

The “old” way of designing for multiple devices involved development of unique stylesheets and even entire websites for different environments (desktop, tablet, smartphone, etc.). Using a relatively new technique called “responsive design,” it’s possible to achieve the same effect with only one site, one set of pages, and as little as one stylesheet.

In a simply elegant and sophisticated nutshell, responsive websites are designed to render their content differently based on the device that is being used to view them.

You’ve probably seen responsive sites in action and may not have realized it, but just in case, here is an example of a responsive site designed by a company in Liverpool. Notice how page elements are reconfigured based on the device used to browse the site.

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what about your site?

Clients have asked, “Do I have to completely redesign my site to make it responsive?” If Whole Brain Creative built it, the answer is no. In fact, it could be as easy as modifying your existing templates and stylesheets while leaving the content in place. It took approximately one day to convert the Whole Brain Creative site (see below).

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when your site is “responsive…”

…it will never again be displayed as a Lilliputian version of its “designed-for-desktop” self when viewed on a tablet or smartphone. You’ll actually be able to read the content on small devices without having to scale the pages to make them larger. And you’ll be able to click buttons without “fat fingering” the screen because they are now displayed at a size made for real fingers.

…you will increase page loading speed and conserve bandwidth with images that are sized appropriately for the device — big images for the desktop, and truly small (i.e. not artificially reduced) images for the phone or tablet.

…you’ll be ahead of the game as devices and screen sizes continue to proliferate because your site should adapt well with little need for modification.This doesn’t mean you don’t need to add new content and keep your site fresh. It does mean that when a new device is introduced, you won’t be reinventing the wheel each time in order for your site to accommodate it.

…you can maintain one site for multiple devices instead of multiple sites for unique environments. You may be wondering…

Isn’t it three times the work to design for three device types? No, not with a responsive approach. We don’t design separate sites, pages or stylesheets for each device type. We design one site for you, with a template and stylesheet that will render intelligently in a range of browsing environments.

As mobile devices continue to multiply, it is neither economical nor efficient to develop and maintain unique sites that are coded for each device type. Responsive site design achieves the same effect, but in an extensible way that should serve you and your website well into the future.

Contact us to learn more about making your website future-friendly.

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