August 27, 2021

What Responsive Web Design Is (And Why You Have to Have It)

Responsive web design is just what it sounds like – a website design that responds to the users’ needs. Technology is constantly changing and growing to include more ways to view and navigate websites. As that technology expands, so must website design and development.

If you have ever visited a website on your phone, tablet, and desktop, you’ve likely noticed that the website looks and functions a little differently on each but is easily accessible on all of them. Or… maybe you’ve noticed the opposite – that the site is difficult to navigate and doesn’t quite function properly on all screens. That means that whoever built the site did so without regard for responsiveness.

Responsive web design isn’t just about the screen, though.

What are the Main Elements of Responsive Web Design?

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes to create a responsive website. Codes have to be dynamic and readily adaptable. There’s a lot of development required for a fully responsive site. However, in a lot of cases, web developers will use plugins to make the work a little easier. Below are some of the most common elements to look out for in a responsive website design.

Screen Resolution and Images

We won’t spend a whole lot of time here because we talked about it a bit above. Phones, tablets, and computers all come in a wide range of sizes and a website should be able to accommodate all of them. Text, images, menus, and more should respond to fit the resolution of any screen.

Menus and Navigation

The navigation for a website consists of the buttons you see at the top of the screen. For desktop, you’ll often see them range from left to right. On mobile, you’re more likely to see what’s called a “hamburger menu.” These are much more mobile-friendly and take up less space. When you change the size of your screen or restore down, you may notice the menu switch from desktop to mobile, as you see below.

Traditional desktop navigation:

Hamburger menu on mobile:

Browser and Platform

Each browser has different specifications for website design. While it’s nearly impossible to cover all of them, most web design agencies aim for the biggest ones:

  • Google
  • Safari
  • Firefox
  • Edge

In addition, web developers also have to consider the different mobile platforms, including iOS and Android. 

Why Do I Need a Responsive Website?

First and foremost, responsive website design is necessary for an ideal user experience. You want your users to be able to quickly and easily navigate your website. If they can’t, they’re going to click away and find another business with similar goods or services.

Second, Google cares about responsiveness. If your website isn’t responsive, they’re likely to ding your site, causing it to fall in rankings. Having a site that isn’t user-friendly can also send other negative signals to Google. If people land on your website only to click off seconds later because they can’t properly navigate it, Google knows that the site isn’t doing its job.

If you want your site to rank well in 2021, you need to make sure that you’re building a responsive website from the ground up.

How Can I Test My Website to See if It’s Responsive?

The best way to see if your website is responsive is to check it on a number of different devices. If you don’t have easy access to more than a desktop and phone, you can also use a website like BrowserStack to see how your website measures up.
If you’re existing website isn’t fully responsive, it’s time to look into a redesign. Pink Dog Digital can help. As a full-service digital marketing agency, we offer website design and development that is both user-friendly as well as SEO-friendly. Give us a call at (410) 696-3305 or contact us online for a free consultation and audit!

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