In web design, we call a website "responsive" if it adapts itself to the viewers’ screen as it changes. The changes can be on a computer or laptop screen, like when you maximize your browser window or when you reduce it to a smaller size to see something else; but it might be more known among portable devices like smartphones and tablets, which are very varied in sizes. Having a website working with a responsive design is very useful for the user experience, and it gives you a few benefits with regard to your visitors.
There are two main benefits in using responsive design in a site.
First benefit: Only one website to maintain
Before responsive design was out, companies used to create two separate versions of their sites. Besides maintaining and updating a desktop version of the site, they had to create a separate mobile-friendly version as well. The use of m. subdomains became as common as the use of scripts to detect where a visitor was coming from to launch correct version. It meant double work, double updates and double bug-fixing too when things went bad.
Responsive design eliminates this need, making one version of the website suitable for one and for all.
Second benefit: Increased perception of quality from visitors
Let's be honest here: if your site is not 100% flawless when people surf it, they will never think there is a problem with their Internet browsers. What they will always think is that you have a bad site. Responsive design lets you manage how a site will look in smartphones, tablets, windowed screens and maximized screens; and it will let you determine how the display will adapt if the visitor intentionally changes anything. This adaptability will always speak well about you, and make people think you have an amazing website. It is a great second reason to use responsive design for your website.
Third benefit: A slight increase in performance
As responsive design can be worked in one single file, you reduce the number of HTTP requests your visitor's browser needs to send to the server. This improves your website's loading time, one of the few factors Google has admitted counts for rankings and SEO.
How to start with responsive design
Starting with responsive design is not very difficult, fortunately. There is only one "technology" to master, and it is the use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Besides this, you need to read a little about a new meta tag, meta viewport, and media queries, which are specific CSS definitions that work differently according to the screen size users have. If you can read enough about this topic, then you may be able to create one 100% responsive CSS file with instructions for everybody, from desktop to smartphones users, and even for those who want to print your articles if you want.
About the author
Jorge Aguayo is a writer, a web designer and team member of Search Engine Optimization at InTechCenter. For more information about responsive web design, you can leave a comment, or contact Jorge Aguayo through this link http://intechcenter.com.