2016 is definitely going to be an extremely interesting year for all tech lovers. Wearables are getting better and more accessible, devices are going to be talking between themselves better, and let’s not forget the bee’s knees of 2016, the VR.
2016 promises to continue the revolution in website building, moving from old platform such as Joomla, Drupal and WordPress to Cloud platforms such as WIX, Squarespace, Simbla and many more.
Responsive web design (RWD) is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience across a wide range of devices.
What it Does…
Responsive Web design is the theory that a web product should be able to adapt to its surroundings in order to provide the best user experience no matter the circumstances. This takes the logic behind building a mobile-only site and applying it to literally create a one-size-fits-all solution.
While it may seem like it, this is not really a new line of thinking. For years, developers have tried to take users with disabilities into account when developing where possible. This thinking is exactly the same, only device capabilities are now being considered alongside the capabilities of the user themselves.
…and How it Does it
Responsive design is built upon three main pillars:
A flexible grid
A flexible grid is a design structure that changes to suit different browser shapes and sizes. Flexible images are ones that change dimensions in the same fashion or, in some cases, load differently to accommodate less powerful devices.
The third aspect of Responsive Web Design’s are media queries. In a nutshell, a media query is a piece of CSS code (Learn about CSS) that executes if a certain criteria relating to the size of the browser is met. This means you can have blocks of styling information that only applies if the browser’s size falls within a certain range.
The ins and outs of how to tackle responsive design from the developer’s point of view isn’t massively important for this particular post, but knowing generally what happens under the bonnet is certainly helpful when thinking about whether your site should be responsive or not.
Why You Should Begin Thinking About Thinking Responsively
I know what you’re thinking. Why should I, as a web site owner, put more time into my website when the user can just scroll around our full site?
Well, apart from saving your users from repetitive strain injury, there are many signs that point towards thinking more about the mobile or tablet user experience.
The main reason for having a website for yourself or for your business is to get more eyes on what you are trying to share or promote. More people have access to a web browser than ever before, on more devices than ever before. To take advantage of this, the flexibility of any potential web presence must become a top priority.
Here’s some numbers to get you thinking:
In Q1 of 2012, 11.38% of all website traffic came from tablets or smartphones. In Q1 of 2013, that number almost doubled to 21.02%. In three years time, it is predicted that the amount of mobile internet users will be larger than the amount of desktop users.
While industry leaders are hailing responsive design as the best thing since sliced cheese, it is the reasoning behind it that is important. Whether you decide to take the responsive route, go down the mobile-tailored path or even rock on to adaptive avenue, considerations must be made along the way to determine how you will reach the next generation of web users.
The numbers don’t lie and if this current rate of expansion for mobile technology continues into the future like many believe it will, maybe now is the time to make plans for a future that may be here sooner than you realise.
By Paul Routledge author at www.wesayhowhigh.com