Need to know: Responsive web design

Why building and maintaining a website that works on multiple screens is becoming increasingly important.

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With pride of place at the top of every Christmas list, sales of tablets in the final quarter of 2013 overtook PCs for the first time. It will likely take until 2015 for tablets to outsell PCs over a whole year, but this result is the another big first in the shift away from desktop computers.

While tablets are great for web users, the problem that web creators now face is that their audience is as likely to own a tablet (not to mention a smartphone) as they are a PC, and decisions need to be made over what type of site is adequate for your business.

You may be forgiven for thinking a standard desktop site is enough for you, but consider that 46% of mobile users report having difficulty interacting with a web page according to the 2012 Keynote mobile survey, and 48% say that if they arrive on a business site that isn’t working well on mobile, they take it as an indication of the business simply not caring.

Apps may seem the way to go, but with so many platforms, building an app for each one is expensive, complicated and difficult to manage. In reality, desktop sites, mobile sites and apps all offer individual benefits to different users but none of them tick all the boxes and again a combination is costly and time-consuming.

Building and maintaining a single website that works on all devices is the obvious solution. That’s where responsive web design comes in.

A responsive website seamlessly adapts to the viewing environment, sizing the page correctly to ensure the design and navigation of the site is not compromised. One website, working across every sized screen on every device available.

Keeping things simple, a responsive website uses media queries to work out what size the screen is, and resizes images and grids used to display text. They can even detect touch screen devices, and enable extra functionality.

At Jones and Palmer, delivering responsive corporate websites is the logical choice as a website must work for audiences on all devices to be effective. We have delivered responsive designs to meet the needs of a number of clients to date.

And to demonstrate how this works, adjust the size of your browser window and you will see the elements of this page move or resize to fit properly.