Suncoast Web Solutions

  • 17th Feb, 2014
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In the past 12-18  months or so we have seen the implementation of a term coined as “responsive design” when it comes to website design. It certainly has a lot of people asking questions as to what is it and “why should my website have one?”

For those of you who do not know what a responsive website design is it is a design technique of which a website can be rendered on different devices and still look identical in terms of theming and basic asthetics.

A great example of a website that is utilizing this technology is our main website. It loads well on different platforms and devices. Infact it will load on Internet Explorer 8-11 without any issue, FireFox, Chrome, Safari and even smart device (Android & Apple Tablets or Smartphones) browsers.

Is it something that EVERY website owner should have? Is it something that no one should go without when it comes to building their new website? The short answer is NO.

A lot of people would say that it is crazy for a website designer or website developer to answer that question with a no. To a degree it is true (but it is not about extra sales for us), it is about what your target market wants and what they are using to access your website.

An great example of where having a responsive website design would be a waste of time is for a website hosting provider. Here is why for those of you who disagree. A website hosting provider offers storage services for website owners.

These services could simply be a small website or a complex website running across multiple servers. In turn this means that those IT administrators or website designers moving websites from one provider to another would typically do their research on a provider via either their desktop computer or tablet styled devices.

Sure there would be a number who use Mobile Phones / Smart Phones but chances of them actually signing up to move their website from one server to another via a smart phone to migrate a website at this point in time is unheard of.

This being said a hosting provider will typically make their site so that it would load on all the said devices so that their potential customers could at least see their site. That however is about as far as it would go.

Now that very short example is just one of many instances where using a responsive website design would be a waste of time. There is however the need for responsive web design and it is growing as each day passes. Some great examples include E-Commerce and brochure sites which customers typically are doing impulse buying or research on a given topic.

If they can find something using say their smart phone or tablet while watching TV of a night time they are likely to go back again or buy immediately from a website which loaded and looked great while they were doing their initial investigations on a given topic.

If you have an older website and are thinking about getting a new website designed because you have heard this new term being thrown around then you should find out or even at the very least ask the question as to why you should get a responsive design or even if you need to have one with your website.

If you get the expected “Yes, of course you should…” styled answer ask for a valid reason as to why. It could save you hundreds or even a thousand dollars in your next development bill.

As far as having an older website and whether it will load on your customers phones there is a typical “It may or may not work”. While this is a vague answer it may not be far off the mark. The reason for this is because a huge number of older websites were built to cater for a screen resolution of 1024 x 768.

While those numbers do not mean much for the end consumer it is a measurement of the screen in pixel or px dimensions. Typically older websites were built at 1004 x 768, 980 x 768 or 960 x 768 or lower. This means that in a lot of cases smart devices could theoretically load the website and have it look quite good, sure the customer would have to pinch their screen to zoom in on content but none the less it will still load and in some cases work perfectly ok.

This is still acceptable for a lot of business owners and from experience it is more than sufficient. At the end of the day it is depending on things like your customers happiness, your budget and your marketing strategy.

Putting all of this in to consideration if you have a website that just needs a software update (with very few modificaitons) but you have heard people say “make sure after the next update the website is made responsive”, then you would definitly be best of just doing the update.

Once you are ready or you are starting a new website development then you should seriously consider getting a responsive web design. Most importantly do your market research and ask yourself if your customers would seriously use a smart device to view your website.

Still not sure about Responsive Website Design? Give us a call and we can help you determine if you need a responsive website design or not. If you do we can certainly help you with getting your site working on smart devices.

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