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Why Responsive Web Design Matters

January 19th, 2016

Once upon a time in a world without computers, designers were trained to create static print layouts for newspapers, magazines, posters and every other editorial piece you can think of. Each design was created with a final size in mind, so what you saw was generally what you got. If a newspaper column was 11 picas wide, designers knew exactly how many columns there were, how many words fit on each line, and how far the text flowed down the column. Now, with desktop computers, smartphones, and even smart watches, designers must take into account that content can be viewed on screens of nearly any size. Websites as we knew them would never be the same.


So now what?

Goodbye static websites. Hello responsive design!

Responsive websites are designed to adapt to the size of the display and optimize user experience. Websites that are viewed on a large desktop monitor can seamlessly adapt to any mobile screen size without losing visibility or legibility of the content. It is referred to as responsive design because the websites respond to their environments. They do all the work so you don’t have to.


How it works:

Think of a website as a puzzle made up of different sized blocks. For example, there could be a thin rectangle at the top for the navigation, a larger rectangle for the hero image, four squares in a row for some examples, two rectangles in a row for some block quotes, and another single rectangle for the footer.

In this example, the blocks are designed to favor desktop screens that have a horizontal orientation. But let’s say you want to view this website on a tablet or smart phone. Rather than scaling down every block as a group, each block can be scaled down separately and reorganized into a layout that better fits a vertical screen. For this reason, responsive websites are designed to follow flexible grid layouts that organize and display the information in a manner that benefits a variety of screen sizes.

In the age of desktops, tablets, and smartphones, businesses are realizing the importance of responsive design and how it could benefit their online presence.


Here’s why you should consider a responsive website:

Responsive websites create a positive user experience. 

Everyone wants to have a good user experience on a website. Responsive sites maximize visibility and readability so the audience can get the information they are looking for quickly and efficiently. No more pinching and zooming to read text on the page. The easier it is to navigate through a website, the more satisfied your customers will be.

Mobile usage is on the rise. 

25% of Internet users in the United States access the internet solely from a mobile device. And with the varying sizes of phone screens, it’s crucial that your website translates seamlessly to all of them.

SEO is better with responsive sites. 

Mobile sites that are created specifically for mobile devices require a separate URL (for example, m.springboardpr.com versus just springboardpr.com). With responsive websites, there is one site and only one URL needed to view it anywhere. This makes it easier for Google bots to crawl your site without having to index multiple versions. It also simplifies the process of updating your site in the future.

Responsive sites adapt to future screens.  

Phones have come a long way in the past 20 years. Cell phones grew smaller and smaller until smartphones were introduced. Now, mobile screens are growing so large that it’s often hard to decipher between phones and tablets and laptops. Who knows what mobile screens will look like in another 20 years. Rest assured, a responsive website will adapt to those screens too.


The Next Steps

Updating your website to a responsive layout may seem like an overwhelming task, but taking the plunge is worth the time and effort to stay up to date with expanding technology. Whether you are looking to simply refresh your current website or update your entire brand identity, Springboard can help you discover your design needs and implement them to help your business grow.

To find out more about how we can help you achieve your marketing and design goals, please contact us.

Stefanie Osmond

Stefanie is Springboard's graphic designer and creative problem solver. Beyond her desk, she spends her time crafting, trying out new dinner recipes, watching competitive baking competitions, and sipping on tea.

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