Mobile responsive design, also referred to as “adaptive design” or simply “responsive design”, is one of the biggest ongoing trends in the design world. It refers to a web development technique that forces the content and layout of your website to dynamically respond to the dimensions of whatever screen it’s being viewed on.
In other words, the content always fits the screen size of whatever device the viewer is using, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer.
PennyWebs.net is an example of a fully responsive website — try resizing your browser right now and watch how the width of the page adapts!
The primary benefit of responsive design is in making websites that are naturally cross-platform compatible. It doesn’t matter if a visitor finds your site on an iPhone, a tablet, or an old CRT monitor with 800×600 resolution – the result will always be displayed at a size that is easy to view and comfortable to read.
With recent estimates putting nearly 40% of Internet traffic on mobile devices, you can see how inbuilt responsiveness extends the reach of your website enormously.
While responsiveness is a big step forward, it is not as of yet a perfect solution.
Responsiveness is usually implemented via CSS media queries, which are only supported in modern browsers. One of the hardest things to control when designing a website is how it will ultimately be viewed by the end user. It’s impossible to know in advance what browser and type of device they’ll be using, and extremely difficult to try to account for every possible combination.
The best solution is to target the greatest volume of visitors possible, which is made up of people that use modern, up-to-date browsers. This means that in the unlikely event that someone accesses your site with Internet Explorer 6 or 7, older versions of Firefox, etc. then they won’t be able to take advantage of media queries and responsiveness.
Fortunately, statistics have shown that this demographic represents such a miniscule portion of your overall traffic that it becomes prudent to discontinue support for these old browsers altogether – simply put, our time, development energies and budgets are better spent elsewhere. And as time passes and these browsers become more and more obsolete, this will become even less of an issue.
In many cases cost can be a limiting factor when it comes to responsive design. Many web design companies charge a substantial fee to implement it, in addition to the base cost of their design & development services.
PennyWebs has chosen to adopt a proactive stance regarding resopnsiveness. We believe it’s such an important feature for any website to have that we opt to include it in every website we develop, including our inexpensive Basic website package, right out of the box! We’ve integrated it into our development workflow by default, and as such you end up paying nothing extra for this indispensible functionality.