Responsive Web Design

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Since the internet emerged, it has undergone numerous changes. Websites evolved from static pages displayed on browsers to fully dynamic pages which are interactive and functional. All a web designer had to worry about is whether a website would be displayed uniformly across all browsers. Although cross browser compatibility is still a challenge most web designers have to worry about, there’s a new challenge they have to deal with today. Responsive web design.

What’s responsive web design?

This is the design of websites that can be easily viewed in different internet enabled devices regardless of their size.

How responsive web design came about

Since the 1990s to early 2000s, people could only access websites through desktops and laptops. As time went by, smaller internet enabled devices were developed. Unfortunately, although internet enabled, most people could only access a handful of websites using these devices. Affordability of these devices led to the increase of internet users trying to access websites using them. Unfortunately, most sites weren’t designed for viewing through smartphones and tablets. For the owners of these sites, it meant lost business opportunities.

A couple of studies showed that the number of people using small internet enabled devices trying to access sites surpassed those using desktops and laptops. It was a wake up call for both website owners and web designers. Websites needed to be created for viewing across all internet enabled devices. Web designers started using the technologies available to make sites accessible through both large and small internet enabled devices.

How is responsive web design achieved?

Early responsive websites were built using pure HTML and CSS. It involved writing hundreds of lines of code to achieve this simple effect. However, it was well worth it.

Today, Bootstrap is the main technology used to create responsive websites. It’s a CSS, HTML and JavaScript framework which was developed by two coders working for social media giant Twitter. It was initially intended to help Twitter user’s access the social site through small internet enabled devices as well as cater for writing short Tweets. Bootstrap was then later adopted for whole sites.  Its main purpose is to make a site responsive without writing many lines of code. A newer technology is the W3C.CSS framework but is a little limited compared to Bootstrap.

Is responsive web design really necessary?

Responsive websites have an advantage over non responsive sites in the following ways.

Consumers are now accessing the internet through mobile devices than ever. This coupled by the fact that more people are using the internet to shop means that responsive sites are in a better position to gain new customers and sales compared to their non responsive counterparts.

Google which is the largest search engine is ranking responsive sites higher compared to non responsive sites. As of April 2015, Google released an algorithm which gives responsive websites higher ranking priority in its search results.

Do you need a new responsive website designed?

If you want your website to benefit from the advantages of being responsive, then this is necessary. It will usually entail adding Bootstrap code to every individual page within the site.

For a small site, this can be a simple task. A large site with hundreds of pages on the other hand might require more work as each page needs to be tweaked. This could mean hiring a professional web designer with responsive web design skills or even creating a new fully responsive site.