Responsive Web Design - a non techie overview

At Skittish, we offer and even encourage clients to opt for a responsive website. But what do we mean by this? Well, in layman’s terms it's a site with a fluid layout which responds and changes depending on the width of the screen and the device that’s displaying it. So the width of the content fits the width of the device and eliminates the need to continually zoom in when using small screens.

Responsive Web Design
Responsive Web Design

So why is this better than a website with a fixed width? Well, it’s not that it’s necessarily better. It might be that your website will only be viewed by people on a desktop machine, for example, an internal intranet site may only be accessible over the company’s network and therefore not accessible to wide variety of devices with different sized screens. In this case, investing in responsive web design may not be a top priority. However, with mobile usage and internet browsing increasing rapidly year on year, it’s very likely that a website built for the public domain will be viewed on tablets such as the Apple iPad or the Samsung Galaxy tab as well as smart phones such as the iPhone and the many Android and Windows based devices.

It is therefore important to give the best user experience to every audience. If your site is cluttered and cumbersome to navigate on a small 3.5” screen, users are less likely to hang around and buy your product, sign up for your service or search out your phone number. Our philosophy is to build each site for mobiles first, adding on features and more complex, feature-based layouts as the device size increases.

A site that is responsive may include content with a fluid width, so lines of text will shorten and lengthen as the width of the screen changes; images that resize, so that larger screens will see a full size image, whereas a mobile may just see a thumbnail image; elements that change in terms of their order or even become hidden on smaller screens so as not to overload the mobile user with more information than is necessary.

By providing a website with a fluid, responsive layout, you’re giving a larger proportion of your website visitors a better user experience, a greater first impression of your company or organisation and making it easier for them to do business with you. Depending on your website and its purpose, you may even be able to do without a separate mobile site altogether.

If this sounds like something you'd be interested in for your website, or you have any further questions, don't hesitate to drop us a line or send us an enquiry.