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25 Apr

What is Responsive Design and Why Does My Site Need it?

Let me tell you a story: I was on my way to a meeting when I realized my car was dirty and needed a wash. I was early, so I decided to look for the closest car wash and I needed to see if there was a coffee shop nearby so I could get a sweet treat. As I found the website of the nearest car wash that met my criteria, I clicked on it and realized it was unreadable:  everything was far too small for my phone screen. It wasn’t easy to read at a glance and required me to zoom into the content to read it. I had to give up and take my business somewhere else.

I bet you’ve experienced something similar once or twice. A website would either not adapt to your screen needs or some menus won’t work and deem the whole site unusable. This is far more common than it should be. While it is true that it’s basically impossible to keep up with every single device that comes to the market and test websites for each one of these new gadgets, there is one way to get ahead and it’s called responsive design.

What is responsive design, you ask? Think of it as if an apartment building was supported by rearrangeable bamboo sticks and not stiff steel bars, and the walls were made of rubber and not concrete. As tenants move in, you get the chance to make apartments larger or smaller, or change the size of any given room. Translated to a website, responsive design is using the necessary tools (such as CSS and media queries) to make sure that your website can fit accordingly and adapt to the dimensions and capabilities of gadgets or personal computers.

If you run an online store, that would mean that dropdown menus, shopping carts and other dynamic elements of your store should immediately detect if they’re being accessed from a mobile phone, an iPad or a laptop, and adapt their functionality accordingly.

If you will, responsive design goes further than a ready-for-mobile site. That would normally imply a small adaptation of an already existing website to the needs of smaller screens, but responsive design is a richer option given that it grants your website a level of flexibility that would work great if a phone screen is suddenly rotated or if you use accessibility tools to browse it; users won’t have to do anything at all; the website will respond and flow just like water would down the stream. Isn’t it amazing?


Care to check if your website is responsive enough or wanna go further and create a brand-new one that’s ahead of the tide? Give us call!


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