Written By Luis Munoz

Benefits of Responsive Web Design

June 17, 2014 | web development / responsive

Is your website ready for the future of media consumption? With the influx of smartphones, tablets, netbooks, and other devices of varying sizes growing in popularity, individuals, businesses, and developers are tasked with ensuring that their websites are optimized for today’s consumer, whether an audience views a website through a compact smartphone or a large desktop monitor.

Why does this matter?

The last obstacle your potential audience should face is being unable to easily view and navigate your website. Anyone who has viewed websites on a smartphone can attest that the experience is widely variable. Some sites have very simplified mobile versions, others have made the move to responsive web design where the website adapts to the needs of the user and his device or viewing window, while many sites simply shrink their full desktop or laptop version onto a 4’’ screen and leave the user to pinch, zoom, and thumb his way through the material.

If your site falls into the latter category, consider how this user experience could be affecting your site’s success, from the amount of time individuals spend on your webpages to conversion and click-through rates. Your site may be brilliantly designed for viewing on a desktop and yet may be cumbersome to read and navigate on a smartphone or small tablet, leading to a frustrated and disengaged user. As sales of mobile devices continue to increase—while sales of desktop computers decrease—it’s necessary for individuals and companies to be proactive, meeting growing needs by delivering an optimal experience on numerous platforms, understanding that design itself can be a form of Internet marketing optimization.

Responsive Web Design is a Proactive Solution

Responsive web design can address this issue by fluidly adjusting the layout and elements of your website and content depending on the device and browser being used. There are many great responsive web design examples, including work that Hitcents has produced for clients. Hitcents Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design in action. Hitcents’ work with Tampico, creating an engaging website experience on multiple devices.

Regardless of whether a viewer accesses a website through a laptop, smartphone, desktop, or tablet, he will receive an optimized viewing experience. Through responsive design, a smartphone user is able to more easily navigate a site, due to text and buttons that are typically larger, and an overall more streamlined design. Another user may choose to visit the same site through her desktop, which will often present her with an expanded experience, perhaps with more functionality, features, and options. Rather than creating multiple stand-alone sites, which is a highly time-consuming process and presents challenges in terms of maintaining and updating each individual site, a responsive website design uses only one site, skillfully employing components and code that make it adaptable to multiple environments.

Responsive Web Design is based on 3 primary elements:

1. A fluid layout built on fluid grids

Fluid grids are key. Rather than using fixed units of width and length, these grids employ relative units, often in the form of percentages. The result is content that proportionally scales based on the device and browser the viewer is using.

2. Images that work in multiple viewport contexts

These are images that are suitable for the largest screens to the smallest. In much the same way as fluid grids, these images are typically sized in relative units, as opposed to pixel-based units, so that they can flow fluidly and display appropriately within their containing element (e.g. establishing a max-width of 100% ensures that the respective image does not exceed the size of its container).

3. Media queries

Media queries serve to provide targeted, specific instructions and style for individual devices and browsers, allowing content to adapt to various conditions including screen resolution. Think of media queries as the minute touches that you would like to be present when your site is viewed in a specific situation. It can also be used to resolve bugs that may occur.

Go Responsive 

Now that you know how responsive web design works and why it’s beneficial to you and your audience, take the next step to make your existing site or future site responsive. If your company needs assistance in revamping its site, Hitcents can work with you to create a website that is well designed, optimized, and adaptive to growing technology trends.

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