Responsive web design is the current buzz word in the web design world. But most businesses don’t understand what it means and why its important.
Responsive web design is a design approach aimed at building websites that provide an optimal viewing experience across a wide variety of screen sizes. This approach focuses on easy reading and navigation with a minimal amount of resizing, panning and scrolling. Responsive websites offer customers a consistant look and feel across their various devices.
Pete Cashmore, from social news website Mashable , has recently discovered the real impact mobile devices are having on businesses. Mashable has responded to the mobile market by redesigning its website using the responsive web design approach.
“Meanwhile, the shift to mobile is happening at an extraordinary speed. Today, 30% of Mashable’s traffic is mobile. By the end of this year, this may exceed 50%.”
Building native apps may seem like the obvious answer to mobile customer demands but smaller businesses simply can’t afford to develop for every app store.
In 2012, Mashable’s website was viewed on 2,500 different mobile devices. The company could build native apps for each hosted platform but chose to redesign its website so that mobile devices from all platforms have the same viewing experience, regardless of device screen size.
Responsive sites can detect the type of device and screen size then present content laid out specifically for that device’s screen dimensions. This allows businesses to build one web application that can serve all online customers.
Cashmore’s research turned up a variety of disturbing trends for businesses holding onto outdated websites. For the first time since 2001, desktop computer sales are lower than they were the previous year while tablet sales are expected to exceed 100 million in 2013.
The mobile web is the key to success in 2013. Approximately 60% of tablet users prefer using mobile websites over native apps. “While I think media companies should certainly offer apps, it’s clear that having a great mobile website should be the priority” Cashmore said.
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