Responsive web design is the future-friendly method of developing one website to meet the needs of all users, regardless of the device on which the site is being viewed. While responsive design is the preferred long-term solution, there are ways to retrofit and modify a site to save time and money in the short term.
What is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive web design takes the approach that you should design for the user and the devices they use to access your content. It involves adjusting screen resolution, using flexible images and implementing a custom layout structure.
Why is Responsive Design Important?
According to Pew Research 55% of adult Americans access the internet on their phones with 31% of respondents reporting they use their phones a majority of the time. As more people use tablets and mobile phones to surf, search and make purchases, it is in your best interest to make your business site easily accessible across all devices.
A responsive design ensures the same content is accessible to all users without requiring mobile or tablet users to pinch and shift the site around in order to find what they are looking for. There is a lot of competition out there and you don’t want your customers or prospective customers finding the information or products they need on a competitor’s site.
How to Meet the Challenge of Mobile-Only Users
Many businesses may not have the time or budget to rebuild their websites from the ground up. However, there are options out there to retrofit an existing website and make it mobile.
If you want to make sure you are not missing out on the increasing number of mobile-only users you have a few options:
Build a mobile site – Having a separate mobile site is relatively inexpensive to develop, but maintaining two sets of code can be more expensive over time.
Retrofit existing site – a retrofit uses your existing code, so maintenance is easier and more cost effective than maintaining two sets of code. A retrofit makes your site available to a wide variety of screen sizes and you will have to make few changes to your existing site.
Make it mobile compatible instead of responsive — If money and time are an issue there are changes you can make in your existing site that will make it more friendly to mobile users. Simplifying site navigation, using larger fonts and using buttons instead of text links; are all ways that can make your site easier to use on mobile devices.
There is no hard and fast rule that dictates which method is best for updating your existing site. Your budget and the design of your current site will influence how you proceed. However, if your website is over 4 years old, it may be time to give us a call and upgrade anyway.
Sources: Pew Research