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Responsive Web Design… what is it, and why is it important?

ipad-820272_1280For many years, the main access to the internet was via desktop computers with standard resolution monitors, which allowed designers the freedom to not have to worry with how their websites would be rendered by the browser. This more or less standardization of display meant that the visual elements and navigation aspects would be rendered the same by every desktop.

However, the rise of mobile devices has completely changed this scenario and eliminated the comfort zone of developers and designers. Now our websites open on screen sizes that range from smartphones to ultraHD displays, making our designers – not our devices – responsible for ensuring that a website is rendered optimally. Enter Responsive Web Design.

The Importance of Responsive Web Design
The attention span of an average internet user is estimated at a few seconds. If a website does not impress its visitors in those crucial seconds, they’ll move on to another website. While this may not be an issue for an information-driven website, this is certainly a very important issue for ecommerce websites.

Google Recommends Responsive Web Design
With a market share of almost 60%, Google is considered the trendsetter in all areas of internet usage and development. In a recent update to its search algorithms, Google has endorsed Responsive Web Design as its primary mobile configuration. This means the technique has now become the new industry best practice.

Why Responsive Web Design Works
In the early days of the rise of mobile devices, a popular workaround for websites with rendering issues was to have two versions of the website. The first version was the standard version designed for large screens. The second version was the mobile version designed for smaller screens. These two websites had different HTML and different URLs.

In this situation, the work of website maintenance teams doubled, as did their issues, considering they had to look after two separate websites that were both essential to the business model. Throw in invariable maintenance and update issues into the design and development cycle and the situation was further worsened.

Responsive Web Design was the answer to all the above-mentioned problems. The most important feature of the technique is the single HTML of the website that is accessed through a single URL. This means that the visitor is shielded from the complexities of multiple versions of a website.

The placement of the visual elements and navigation aspects of the websites is controlled through CSS. Since multiple CSS files could be used for styling a HTML file, the problem of rendering the website correctly is essentially solved with the right CSS served according to the device type of the visitor.

With our ever increasing mobile world, it’s obvious to see that Responsible Web Design has become one of the most important developments in web design. If you have not already switched over, now is the time. Should you need help, contact our team at ENet Technologies. We welcome the opportunity.

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