What is “Responsive Web Design” and Why is it Important?

Lift Media advertises “Responsive Web Design” and yet a lot of people have no idea what that is. When I first started in the tech business I had no idea what “responsive” meant and I was a little timid about asking for fear of sounding un-tech-savvy. However, after months of talking with tech geniuses and eavesdropping as they talk amongst themselves even I have come to understand why a responsive website is a necessary tool for any company.

Responsive sites respond to their surroundings. Sounds simple enough, right? While the concept might be simple, the reality is quite complicated and takes a top-notch team of developers to complete. A Responsive Wed Design is one in which the front-end design and the back-end development of a site respond to the user’s behavior and environment. This could include a response to the screen size and orientation of the device or even the original framework platform of the device’s coding. Developers create and use flexible grids, frameworks, templates, layouts, images, text, and other, more technical sounding things, like “CSS media queries” in order to make a website responsive. As a user or consumer switches from their laptop to iPad then over to their phone, the website should automatically adapt to the different resolutions, image sizes, and text abilities of each individual device. If a site is responsive, it will seamlessly make the switch to different screen sizes – shrinking to fit an iPhone then growing again to fill the screen of a tablet – all while maintaining high resolution images and functionality.

Responsive websites not only eliminate the need for different designs and development phases for each new technological gadget, but they increase the range of influence a website is able to have. Responsive websites aren’t just responding to different technologies, they are responding to each individual user’s preferences.

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Today’s world is quickly being overcome with technology and the number of cell-phone internet-users is forever increasing. Little black screens have become our best friends and our main source of not only communication, but information. For those of us who use our phones for everything a responsive website is like a dream come true.

According to the Pew Research Center, 91% of Americans own a cell phone and 64% of those who own phones own smartphones – internet-capable phones – specifically. Furthermore, as of May 2013, 63% of adult cell phone owners use their phone to go online, not just make calls. This means that nearly every single person who has internet capabilities on their phone makes use of it. Additionally, one third of these cell internet users (34%) “mostly use their phone” to access the internet, as opposed to other devices such as a desktop, laptop, or tablet.

These numbers, and the fact that they are exponentially growing – doubling from 2009 to 2013 – mean something. They mean that marketing needs to reach mobile devices. Websites need to be responsive if you want to effectively reach an entire third of consumers. I might just be an impatient Generation-Xer but I can shamelessly say that when I try to open a website on my phone and it has tiny text and pixelated images I scoff and close the window in search of a better-made site with the same services.

If your site has tiny text and pixelated images, Lift Media might just be the best thing for you. The developers at Lift Media have the experience and expertise to take run-down, outdated, and frankly, sad websites and turn them into something modern and functional. By building you a responsive website Lift Media can also build your online presence and help you reach a whole new audience. In the simplest terms and most convenient definitions… if you need a responsive website, you need Lift Media.

Check out the Lift portfolio for some examples of multi-page responsive websites.

For an extremely in-depth conversation about Responsive Wed Design, check out Kayla Knight’s article in Smashing Magazine.

Posted on July 9, 2015 in Custom Web Design, Responsive Web Design, Technology, Web Design

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