Responsive Design. If you live in the digital world, you have probably heard of it. If you haven’t, simply put, responsive design is the approach to creating/designing websites where the content is optimally displayed regardless of screen/device. The website will adapt to your screen size and display the content to best fit. If done properly, you won’t even notice you are viewing a website designed in responsive.
In the past, you would have a desktop version of your website, a mobile version, and maybe even a tablet version. But with the growing plethora of devices out there, it became too cumbersome to detect what device the user is on and serve the proper version (not to mention it was more expensive to design/program 2 or 3 differently sized websites). With responsive design, you only have one HTML codebase, and you simply style the site based on different size breakpoints.
A recent poll (http://codeitdown.com/responsive-web-design-2014-stats-trends/) of the top 78 Alexa ranked websites showed that 88.5% are already using responsive design, with only 11.5% still on a fixed-width layout. This number will only continue to grow as the user gets more and more mobile and uses more and more devices.
So we know what responsive can do already, but what can we expect in the future from responsive designed websites?
1) Simplification of content. It’s no secret that a big reason responsive design is a popular approach is because it is mobile friendly. With the number of people accessing the web through their mobile device increasing every day, it only makes sense to cater to them. Mobile users are likely looking for a specific piece of content on your site, and you don’t have a lot of room to work with to display it. Simplifying the content will make it more accessible to the user and give them the best browsing experience without any of the clutter that used to be on the desktop version.
2) Expanded use of video. It has become much easier to embed video on your websites, and your video doesn’t have to be a fixed size anymore (or in Flash for that matter!). Videos can be embedded and viewed at full screen to take advantage of the device’s entire real estate.
3) Off-canvas navigation. You’ve likely already seen this in various phone apps. In either the top left or right corner of a site, you’ll see a button (usually 3 bars) that when tapped reveal some navigation that slides in from the side. This is becoming more common practice on responsive websites when viewed on a mobile device. This helps give content the priority is deserves.
4) Full screen imagery. Now that we aren’t dealing with a fixed-width layout, we are free to use the entire canvas for imagery, Whether it’s a 27” monitor or a 4” phone, we sites can be highly visual across the entire pallet.
Many of our clients have already taken advantage of responsive designed websites and are seeing an increase in engagement from mobile and tablet users. If you’re interested in having your next website responsive and engaging on any device, please contact us!