What exactly is “Responsive Design”?

“Day by day, the number of devices, platforms, and browsers that need to work with your site grows. Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift in how we’ll build websites for the decade to come.”  -Jeffrey Veen, V.P Adobe

Responsive Design means your website “responds” to the device it is being viewed on by reformatting its contents to provide an optimal viewing experience for the user – easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling across a wide range of devices; from desktop computer monitors to laptops to tablets to mobile smart phones. You’ve probably seen it on a number of sites you have visited recently on a mobile device.

Responsive Design Diagram - Ritama Design

Responsive Design Diagram – see how the site goes from a full view to more streamlined depending on the device it’s being viewed on? 
Photo credit Mashable.

A responsive website will make it so your site doesn’t appear as a mini version of the original – which is going to make it teeny weenie on a smart phone and a hassle for the viewer to navigate easily. And what happens when you can’t get around a site easily? You leave it.

We live in a multi-screen world, accessing different devices for information/connection as we move through our day. The latest research from Google tells us that “90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal, whether that’s on smartphones, PCs, tablets or TV.” If your site is not “responding” to these users and making it easier for them to navigate your site, they might not stay around to find out more about what you are offering.

My team only does responsive design now as setting up websites in responsive is in the best interest for the client in the long run. We don’t want our clients to spend good money on a site only to have it outdated before it’s launched. It doesn’t make sense.

Lately, our job has been to educate clients on what “responsive design” is which is why I created this amazing article for you, so you don’t have to go searching all over google to find out. Wasn’t that thoughtful of me?

This website is responsive – if you view it on a tablet or a phone it will render differently than on a laptop. Go ahead, try it!

Forbes.com and Mashable.com recently posted great articles on responsive design that help explain this new trend. I highly recommend reading both of them for your “web-edification”.

Click here for the link to the Forbes article.

Click here for the link to the Mashable article.

I’ve also copied and pasted the Forbes article below for your reading pleasure :)
Please click on the link for the Mashable article – it’s a good read too.

Why You Need to Prioritize Responsive Design Right Now

Forbes.com March 2013

by Susan Gunelius, Contributor

Responsive design is the hot topic for 2013. We’ve moved beyond mobile and finally reached the point where companies are accepting the fact that the best ROI comes from fully integrated marketing programs. It’s hard to fully integrate when your website is a convoluted mess of versions for different devices or worse, a single version that renders poorly on different devices.

The case for responsive design has been made clear, and responsive web design even made it onto the ecommerce marketing checklist for 2013. However, companies are still slow to invest the time and money into the development required to turn their antiquated websites into responsive websites that render perfectly no matter what device a person is using.

Now is the time to prioritize responsive design in your budget. To learn why, I spoke with Jody Resnick, CEO of Trighton Interactive, a full-service digital agency that focuses heavily on responsive web design.

Resnick  explains, “With a responsive website, businesses can be in front of consumers at every step of their online journey. People who search for a business’ site, begin reading content and viewing videos from their desktop computers at work, and then look for the same business on their smartphones during lunch are able to continue their research into products and services uninterrupted.

“In contrast, if the business has a traditional website and a mobile site, someone investigating products and services online can become frustrated by the lack of complete content on the mobile site or the inability to navigate through the full site on her smartphone. She might give up the search altogether,” Resnick warns.

“Responsive websites provide continuity between different viewing contexts, remaining completely agnostic to the type of device used and the size of the screen it has. What this means is that the same website will present an optimized layout regardless of which device it finds itself being loaded in.”

A Mobile Version of Your Website Isn’t Good Enough

It’s important to understand that having a mobile version of your website isn’t enough anymore. Resnick says, “Responsive websites simplify internet marketing and SEO. Instead of having to develop and manage content for multiple websites, businesses with responsive sites can take a unified approach to content management because they have only the one responsive site to manage. The same applies to analytics and strategy development and deployment. A responsive website means there is only one set of analytics to examine and a single strategy to develop and deploy.

“In addition, responsive websites are easier for consumers to find than traditional or mobile sites because they come up higher in search engines’ rankings,” explains Resnick. “In fact, Google recommends responsive web design because having a single URL for desktop and mobile sites makes it easier for Google to discover content and for Google’s algorithms to assign indexing properties to content.”

Responsive Design in the Future

Keep in mind, responsive design is still in its infancy, and the future looks extremely bright. “There are a lot of exciting things coming up with responsive design,” Resnick says. “We’re already using elements of responsive design in web applications, and our developers are exploring emerging areas of responsive design by testing a multitude of integrations that are now available.”

Resnick predicts, “As the internet transforms further into a platform of services and user interfaces that tie those services together, leveraging this technology in the future will allow companies to integrate a plethora of back-end services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Salesforce.com, and Amazon Web Services, and then present the integrated data back out the front-end iad layer on a responsive design so the application looks great on all devices without custom coding needed for each device or screen size. No longer are expensive back-end solutions needed to integrate legacy systems with business partners.”

One thing is certain, you don’t want to fall behind and watch your competitors launch responsive websites while yours is still stuck in 2010 (or earlier). The time to get responsive with your web design is now.

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* Responsive Design Diagram – credit to Mashable.com