187 - What is responsive web design and why do we need it?
May 29 2014

What is responsive web design and why do we need it?

How often do you browse the internet from your phone, tablet or netbook? We bet the answer is ‘a lot’. People are accessing the web more often away from a computer and they are looking for information fast.


Browsing a website from a phone is very different to looking at it on a computer, so responsive websites that can adapt to the screen size are a must. Websites need to be more mobile and tablet friendly.


Beforehand, web developers have been making two separate websites, one for mobiles, and one for desktops. Responsive design removes the need for this and instead allows websites to keep the same design that just adjusts, no matter the screen size.


Designing websites in this way is fast becoming the normal, standard practice of web development.




Responsive website design is an approach that allows a designer to create a website that ‘responds to’ or resizes itself depending on the device it’s being viewed on, eg, a laptop, desktop, tablet or mobile. It also adjusts with the browsers size, so if you make the browser thinner, wider, shorter or taller, the responsive site will adjust accordingly – rather than cutting off some of the screen. Just like this one. (Go on give it a try!)


The whole design expands or reduces depending on the screen size, this means that every element and aspect resizes the width in relation to one another. This is done with something called ‘media queries’ that allow the designer to control the layout. (confusing huh?)


Some responsive websites use these queries to detect the actual device they are being viewed on, adapting the site’s behaviour. For example, a touch screen device may trigger a website to enable swiping between columns or stories – like on the BBC News iPhone app for example.



1. Increase your reach


Tablet sales have continually grown, meaning that people will primarily use this to browse the web. Make sure your website is easy to use so you can reach these new tablet and mobile audiences.


2. Increase sales


Having a consistent user experience will make positive impact on your conversion rate. The easier the website is to use, the longer a user will stay meaning the more likely they’ll be to make a purchase, or fill out a contact form.


3. SEO benefits


The more conversions your website makes, means Google will rank you higher. The technicalities behind are far too detailed to go into now but basically, one single website enables you to really nail your SEO strategy.


These are just a few of the advantages of responsive website design, we could go on all day! Check out our portfolio to see the websites we have previously worked on.

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Dave H

As our MD, David finds inspiration from running a busy agency. His SEO and content marketing tips, business-savvy suggestions on keeping your company moving forward and industry expertise will give you that helping hand when it comes to making the most of your time.

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