Those current on web trends have probably heard the latest buzz-phrase in Internet circles: “responsive design”. In a nutshell, a responsive web design is one that automatically adjusts or responds to the size of the viewers’ screen (try it on this site, just adjust the size of your browser and watch the page reflow to fit all of the info in). Although new, this technology is quickly becoming widely used. Here are a few reasons why you should consider a responsive layout:
- Accessibility on Mobile Devices – The web is no longer just something you access on your computer. The explosive growth of the tablet market, as well as the technological advancements made in smartphones, has ensured that the mobile web is here to stay. Microsoft estimates that mobile internet usage will overtake desktop usage by 2014. With this information in hand, it is crucial that your website is accessible on a mobile device, and a responsive website is clearly the best way to accomplish this.
- Time and Money – Before responsive design, we often relied on mobile sites to serve content to phones and tablets. This is not optimal for a number of reasons, including users becoming easily frustrated with the lack of functionality compared to the desktop website and costs increasing as the Webmaster is effectively managing two websites. A responsive website, on the other hand, is one website with multiple layouts. Any changes or updates will be automatically reflected across all platforms.
- More “SEO Juice” – A responsive website is preferred from an SEO perspective for many reasons such as cleaner HTML and easier social sharing. Most importantly is how responsive design relates to Google’s search algorithm. Google prefers single code bases to separate files for desktop and mobile, and Google’s developer recommendations go so far as to call responsive design an industry best practice.
With the advent of responsive design, the future of the web is bright. It is time you consider moving your site to a responsive layout.
Stay tuned for our next feature on the mobile web: the Do’s and Don’ts of Responsive Design.
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