The days of everyone sitting at a desk when logging on to the Internet are long gone.
There are now a multitude of devices available, all of which come with slightly different size screens and operating systems. Roll yourself back just a decade and try to imagine creating a decent web design package for a client that could accommodate such a huge variation and it’ll likely have you running for the hills!
Accessing the Internet on the go is fast becoming the norm, so how do we keep up with this ever-changing landscape? The current answer is responsive design and a server that can load your site quickly, such as cheap VPS hosting from Host1Plus. But will it completely future proof our efforts to create beautiful websites for our clients? Before we answer, let’s take a quick look at what responsive design actually means.
What is responsive design?
Responsive design is actually pretty self-explanatory. It is simply a method of design that allows a website to adapt (or respond) to the dimensions of the screen that it is being accessed on. Say, for instance, you are accessing this article on a smartphone, you will be seeing the same site as someone viewing it on a 27” iMac, but the way it is presented will be entirely different.
With responsive design in place, certain aspects of the site will move and shift to fit beautifully onto the screen, regardless of the size. Try accessing a responsively designed site on a desktop and resize the browser manually and you’ll see how it works perfectly as the dimensions of the viewable area change.
How it helps
The reason why this works so well is that you no longer have to zoom in to read the text being served to you. This means that you no longer have pieces of the site hanging wistfully off the edge of your phone or tablet, making the experience far better than the days of pinch and zoom.
It is also means faster loading times too as mobile devices no longer need to load the whole page all at once, which is great for both the visitor and the site owner. A site can be hosted on a virtual private server and accessed just as rapidly on the move as it would be from a desktop PC or Mac. This means a far better user experience, which, in turn, will help keep them on the page and help boost the sites overall quality rankings in Google’s eyes.
So, is responsive the best way to ensure future proofing?
For now, yes, but it’s worth remembering just how far we have come over the last decade or so. Who would have thought that this kind of design feature would have even been necessary 15 years ago?
The fact of the matter is that there really is no way to 100% guarantee against the future when you don’t know what exactly the future holds. However, if you want to do everything you can to ensure that your latest web design project is as up to date as it possibly can be; responsive design is the only way to go.