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The Basics of Responsive Website Design

     -     Nov 21st, 2013   -     Accounting Marketing, Accounting Websites   -     0 Comments

Has your firm been contemplating a website redesign? If you have been considering a site redesign, or looking into ways you can improve your website – you may have come across the term ‘responsive design’. If you’re like most of our clients then you are not really sure what it is and why it’s important. Let’s see if we can help you make sense of it. Responsive website design is the new design standard in website development. It’s got all of the benefits of a desktop and mobile website, with none of the drawbacks. Continue reading to learn more about responsive website design and its advantages.

What is Responsive Website Design?

In a nutshell, responsive web design suggests that design and development should respond to the visitor’s behaviors and environment – such as screen size, operating system, and device orientation. A responsive website uses a single URL (or multiple URL’s with redirects), a single database of content, and a single method of coding and media queries to deliver a consistent website experience to multiple devices. In other words – you have the ability to maintain a single database of content and deliver the website experience on a desktop, laptop, tablet and Smartphone without having to develop a different design, or code for various browsers and devices. This means that your firm won’t need to develop a separate mobile website design or set of mobile content for your visitors. Your responsive website will instead recognize the screen resolution of the device your site is being accessed by and size accordingly.

So how does a responsive design actually work? Simply put, a responsive website is based on a grid system written in HTML5. The grid creates rows and columns of the content within the framework of the design, and based on the size of the device accessing the content – your website will re-stack or reorganize the grid to fit all of the content within the size parameters of the accessing device. This means you don’t need to do any double data entry, you won’t need to pay a firm to code a second design specifically for mobile or tablets – and possibly one of the most coveted features is the flexible images. A large panoramic image will easily shrink to the width of the mobile device without having to provide two different images in the website’s database!

Switching your website to a responsive design can be an investment if you have recently undergone the development of a website in the last 2 years. If you haven’t, now is a good time to do so. Non-responsive designs cause serious frustration for mobile and tablet users, causing them to leave the site and usually not return. It is essential to have a web design that adapts itself to multiple screen sizes, it looks better, it’s consistent, and it offers easy accessibility to the entire breadth of your firms content. In 2014, mobile devices will surpass desktop PC’s as the dominant global internet platform – so now more than ever you should be considering solutions that allow you to reach all of your website’s visitors and provide them with the information they are looking for.

Benefits of Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design will save your firm money, and ultimately increase the access to your website resources for all visitor’s regardless of accessing device. The time investment into your online presence can decrease because the number of pieces that require planning, development and execution are reduced to a single item – one responsive site. You can expect to see better website performance and wider browser support overall – with a single code base, HTML5, and a single set of queries being used to access media (CSS3) – there are less opportunities for incompatibility between browsers and platforms – this means a less vigorous testing for buggy code before launching your site.

Additionally, you should expect to see improved SEO after making the switch to responsive design – a better user experience eqauls a better rank. In other words, if poor site design limits access from any device other than a laptop or desktop, then this may cause people to leave your site before accessing the information they desired. This results in a negative reaction to your content and Google records that reaction. . Less negative reactions result in better ranking. And if you need any further evidence, Google has actually issued the following statement regarding website design;

“Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.”

So, have you heard of responsive web design? Have you considered implementing it for your firm’s next redesign?

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