On responsive design…

by Alixandra Bowman, Website Project Coordinator

 

If you’re thinking about redesigning your website, consider carefully how your site will be viewed. More than 50% of mobile users in the U.S. use smart phones, and about 25% of U.S. adults own tablets. With increased data bandwidth available to these devices, an increasing number of users prefer these devices over their laptops or desktops to search the Internet. Without a solution for these smaller screens, websites require excessive panning, scrolling, and zooming to view their content. Also, some website technologies are not available for mobile platforms, so it is vital to consider all of your options.

Until a couple of years ago, many web developers addressed this problem by creating separate websites designed specifically for mobile devices. This method is not only costly to develop but also to maintain as time goes on since it requires additional effort for specific target formats. Recently, a better option has become available: responsive web design. Pivot has adopted this design methodology as our primary solution to give users the best experience on tablets and mobile devices.

So what is responsive design? Responsive design adapts a website’s layout based on the screen size of the device the site is being viewed on. It allows for optimal viewing on most devices with minimal scrolling, panning, and resizing. It requires a bit more design time in the beginning, but in the long run, you will have a more unified product. Maintenance costs are reduced since new changes only need to be made in one place. Also, as new mobile platforms are introduced with varying form factors, your website is ready to support these devices.

Benefits to using responsive design:

1)    Unified look across devices: Often, mobile sites look slightly different than their desktop sites. Responsive design allows for uniformity of images and content across a variety of screen sizes. Navigation tabs become hidden under a menu button. Background images become simplified or cut out all together, and page content becomes stacked and resized appropriately within the device’s screen size, which can be easily viewed by scrolling up and down.

2)    One site to manage: Mobile sites often have differences in structure or content from their desktop site. Sometimes this means they must be updated separately. Responsive design requires initial programming time, but saves time in the long run by concentrating all maintenance and edits in one site.

In today’s increasingly mobile world, responsive design websites offer a superior experience for viewers and companies focusing on digital marketing and efficient site management. Responsive design has become so critical to the success of businesses that it made the Forbes Ecommerce Checklist for 2013 and is being adopted by many fast-track digital marketing agencies.

Click on the links below to see examples of Pivot sites that employ responsive design:

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