What is responsive web design (RWD)?
This simply means that a website will adjust or respond to the screen size and environment of the device that it’s being viewed on. Mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers come in a variety of different sized screens. A website will need to work properly on each of these devices to maximise its usability. RWD is the answer and can ultimately improve traffic performances. RWD essentially mean that a website will automatically accommodate for the website layout, image sizes, resolutions and scripts on various screen sizes and device types.
How does responsive web design work?
RWD works by sizing elements within a website using proportions instead of pixels. The proportion of the elements are defined as a percentage rather than a numerical fixed state. So if a website has text adjacent to an image this could be defined in the CSS as 60 and 40 percent of the webpage width. In this way a website can expand or contract to suit different screen sizes without changing to much of the websites appearance.
Why should a website be responsive?
Many websites may have separate mobile, tablet and computer sites on different sub-domains.
website.com – m.website.com – t.website.com
This means that there are two or three separate websites running on the same domain. Different site versions may need to be edited separately which can increase the cost or work involved. RWD combines all device versions into one neat website, which significantly reduces the time required to make site updates. Having separate websites can also lead to duplicate content problems as the same content may be on separate sub-domains and ‘rel alternate’ and canonical tags will need to be applied. If incorrectly applied this may affect some search engine grading factors and ultimately traffic performances.
Mobile phones are starting to dominate the other device types that are used for searching online. For most industries it is now more important than ever to upgrade a website to a mobile friendly version. The length of time a user spends on a site can be reduced if the website does not respond correctly. This can lead to higher bounce rates and lower click trough rates that negatively affect SEO scores and search engine placements.