The use of mobile internet use is growing at a very fast rate but unfortunately, most of the web is not optimized for mobile internet usage. The mobile devices are constrained by the display size and they require a different approach on how web content is displayed on the screen.
There are infinite different screen sized phones; tablets, TVs, desktops, game consoles and many others but the screen sizes are always changing hence the need for every site to adapt to the different screen sizes today and also in the future. The response by the industry on this is the development of a responsive web design which is suitable for all users.
Responsive web design refers to the practice of building a website which is suitable for all screen sizes no matter how small or large it is. Responsive web design (RWD) is mainly focused on providing a gratifying and intuitive experience for everyone. Mobile phones and desktop computer users all benefit from responsive web designs.
There are three main components of a responsive web design including flexible media, flexible layouts and media queries.
· Flexible layouts
Flexible layout is the practice of building a website layout with a flexible grid which is capable of resizing automatically to any width. The flexible grids are build using relative units which are then used to declare common grid property values such as padding, margin or width.
Flexible layouts don’t advocate the use of fixed measurement units like inches or pixels because the viewpoint width and height changes continually from one device to another. The different website layouts should adapt to the changes and a fixed measurement has too many constraints.
· Media Queries
Media queries are built as an extension to the different media types found when including and targeting styles. Media queries offer the ability to specify different styles for each browser and devices. Uniquely applying targeted styles opens a world of leverage and opportunity to a responsive web design.
Benefits of a responsive web design
· Multi-Device User support
A responsive web design enables users to look for internet content in multiple devices which have different design layouts suited for individual screen size.
· Cost Effective
A responsive web design uses a unified approach which saves money and time while upgrading, supporting and managing any website. Though it takes longer to design a responsive website compared to a fixed length site it survives longer.
· Improved conversion rates
A website that is optimized with a consistent feel and look provides the user with a better experience regardless where he or she is viewing the content from. Responsive site is easier to navigate unlike an adaptive site.
· Better Responsive User experience
A responsive web design provides an optimal user experience irrespective of the device being used.
· A higher SEO ranking
Today, Google is highly advocating the use of responsive web design for websites as a very important factor in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as it produces better search results and a user is able to view content more easily especially when using mobile devices.
This type of web design is no longer a trend but a must, it helps a site to expand easily and reach more users and it offers an amazingly optimized experience regardless of the device being used .