Beauty is nothing without brains
These days being a responsive web design agency in Manchester is very competitive and making the most of the digital revolution which is well under way is the only way for a business to stay afloat. The benefits of opening up a section of your business designed to operate online are obvious, and need no explanation here. Instead, this guide focusses on some of the best ways to design your website. The ever more popular field of responsive web design is taking the online world by storm, and by tapping in, you too can make your website a pleasure to explore. Keep reading the guide below to find out how to use this incredible new tool to your advantage in order to maximise the success of your online endeavors.
Web pages which are said to be ‘responsive’ are those which are able to adapt to the environment in which they are being viewed. These pages are designed using a grid format, which can then be scaled to perfectly fit the window in which it is being viewed. The images found on the page are also designed to be scalable so as to prevent the image from exceeding the size of the container in which it is held. The myriad tools of responsive web design allow web developers to cater for differing screen sizes, browsers, and even window sizes, while also conferring a higher level of support for mobile devices.
The contrast between a web page based on older design principles, with content nested within tables of varying sizes, and the more modern responsively designed web pages is obvious. When viewing the two pages in full-screen mode, there is little differences between both pages. The important distinctions arise, though, when the user attempts to arrange the windows in the way of their choosing, or when they attempt to view the site on a mobile device while on the move. While the responsive web page flows effortlessly into the smaller window or onto the screen of the mobile device, scaling pictures and shuffling text to match the dimensions of the viewing window, the older web pages stutter with text, often introducing an unwieldy scroll bar to facilitate viewing of the information in its entirety, while the images lurch into place, often losing a section of the image off the edge of the page, or beneath another image found in close proximity. This clumsy interface prompts a quick closure of the window, and an important loss of views, clicks, and by extension, sales. Without knowing it, users have come to expect responsive web design, so jumping on board and designing your website with these protocols in mind is an intelligent decision which every business must come to terms with.
*It’s obvious to computer users of any level that re-designing a website for each of the endless resolutions and screen configurations found on the staggering conglomeration of laptop and desktop computers, never mind the baffling array of tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices, is a painful and tedious task. Beyond this, such a system would require an extensive database to store all the data regarding each website type, and would require a request for the type of device being used before any website data is sent, thus increasing the amount of time the user must spend inconveniently waiting for the website to load. With new flavours of each of these devices appearing in ever-diversifying resolutions and dimensions, the ‘one site fits all’ approach laid down by the reactive web design protocols is the only intelligent way left in which a website can be designed by a responsive web design agency.
The ability of the website to respond to the user’s particular screen settings and preferences, and therefore the enhanced experience of the user while using your site, is the most significant benefit of the implementation of responsive web design. When a website is designed with these protocols in mind, the user is free to rotate the mobile device and re-size the window at will, leading to a significantly enriched experience of the site. Images are worked with by the responsive web design engine, not using the absolute size of the image in pixels, but the relative size expressed as a percentage of the original, with full size being 100%. The engine is able to determine when the image container is at less than its full size, and to scale the image appropriately. This innovative idea can be implemented with a few staggeringly simple lines of code, but can dramatically change the way a website is able to respond to the content it holds.
Although trying to squash a site into a small enough window or screen will eventually cause it to become completely illegible, the new style of programming that facilitates responsive web design means that the layout structure of the site will never be compromised no matter how the site’s contents are toyed with, meaning that the web page can simply be scaled up enough to make it legible by using a small scroll bar. While the ultimate goal of responsive web design is to eliminate the need for the horizontal scroll when dealing on smaller than usual screens and windows, the code used is sufficiently flexible as to allow the designer to write a small function designed to ensure that the information displayed is always legible, even if this is at the cost of the inclusion of a horizontal scroll bar at the user’s inconvenience.
If the code designed to facilitate responsive web design works as it is intended, the user shouldn’t even notice its existence. They should be taken completely into the illusion that there are multiple web pages, one designed for each of their devices. They should see no perceptible adjustment when switching between portrait and landscape, for example, but should be able to view the content in a convenient and user-friendly way in either layout without having to use the scroll bar, or perform manual adjustments to the browser or display themselves. By automatically reading the response of the user, as well as the specifications of the user’s device, and making adjustments to the layout of text and images present on the web page, the site is able to work around the limitations of the user’s device, and give a seamless browsing experience devoid of inconvenient scroll bars and pan views.
Although it is often a thankless addition to a web page, and will likely go unnoticed by the majority of users, the improvement to the browsing experience of those accessing a website designed with responsive elements cannot be overstated. While the transition from the table architecture of websites to responsive elements has escaped the notice of most even relatively high-level computer users, so many sites now incorporate this important feature that it has become indispensable to any modern site. Users will notice the lack of elements in a site designed to interpret and react to their modifications of web pages, even if they failed to notice their implementation. For this reason, it is of key importance that businesses make use of the responsive web elements available in abundance today. But just how does responsive web design impact the world of business? Read the section below to find out.
With the websites already in operation designed primarily for laptop and desktop computer users, wouldn’t it require a phenomenal investment for a business to begin providing responsive web pages for phones and for computers? Would this investment really be worth it? With the mobile market expanding every day the slice of views dominated by the older style computers is beginning to dwindle. For this reason, business who were once able to concentrate on making home computers their priority are now having to accept the fact that mobile computing is here to stay, and in fact requires as great a proportion of our time and resources than does traditional computing. Although it is tempting for business to stick to the tried and tested realm of home computing, many are now becoming wise to the fact that their sites must be accessed via mobile devices, and must be able to provide a comfortable viewing experience on screens of all resolutions and proportions. Making sure that your website is able to fit unobtrusively on any type of device of the user’s choosing will make sure that they come back to your website the next time they need something, and will put you ahead of the competition who may have unwieldy websites, not designed with the principles of responsive web design in mind.
Any serious web developer will attest that designing sites with mobile devices in mind is a huge hassle. Web design would be made dramatically less complex without having to build in support for mobile devices, so the question must be asked, why bother offering support for these devices at all? The answer is quite simple – most companies have thus far dramatically underestimated the actual proportion of time users spend on mobile devices. One recent report has calculated that around 37% of internet usage occurs from mobile devices, with this proportion increasing at a dizzying rate, and showing no sign of stopping. For this reason, support for mobile devices should no longer be an afterthought, but should take up at least an equal amount of time and resources as the design of the desktop site itself. No longer should the desktop site be thought of as the ‘main’ site, and the mobile site simply an offshoot of this site, but both should go hand-in-hand to offer the user an all-round experience of the site.
As an addition to this, some experts have speculated that mobile operating systems are becoming so powerful and so user-friendly that may will begin to opt for the likes of Android and iOS on for their PC as well. This revolution would increase the need for web developers and business to make use of responsive web design to facilitate access by mobile operating systems, thereby allowing them to keep up with the huge technological leaps forwards experienced every day in the world of the digital.
The information above should provide an explanation of responsive web design, as well as concrete information as to why this simple addition to your site can make all the difference in terms of usability and aesthetics. If you’d like to open up your site to the 37% of users who prefer to use their mobile device rather than their computer to access the internet, and to expose your business to the extra publicity and revenue this brings, make sure to seriously consider adding some responsive design elements to your site or get in touch with us at unit36 and we can advise the best steps to going mobile with your website.