Responsive Web Design: An Ultimate Guide
2012 is known to be the year of smartphones. As per a recent survey the share of smartphones has reached around 50% in US. This is indeed a great time to invest in mobile user experience. If you are running a website, you must have a responsive web design so that your website is accessible via mobiles as well. If you are not aware of all the hype responsive web design is getting, you should learn more about it. In fact, this article will give you suggestions regarding long term marketing strategies for creating a responsive website.
Responsive web design
Before anything else, it is important to understand what responsive web design actually is. To be precise, Responsive Web Design is a technique which enables your website to fit virtually into any device. By any device, I mean literally any device and it could be smart phones, tablets, TV, your PC’s monitor, iPhone and Android phones with both landscape and portrait modes. All you need to do is correctly implement the responsive web design and you will see that your website fits on any device.
Substitute to Responsive Design
Ever since the mobiles have become an alternative for desktop browsing, responsive web design has gained immense popularity. Some people think that having a responsive web design is the best way to get accessible to more and more people. However, some websites are too complicated to implement Responsive web designing. For such websites, there are two alternatives which are following:
- A completely separate mobile version of your website
If you think that responsive web designing cannot be implemented on your current web design, you can get a new mobile version designed of your website. If a user visits your website from mobile, they will be redirected to the mobile version of the website and system will detect their smartphone and will display the website accordingly.
- Mobile App
Developing a mobile App is the best way to go if you do not want to get into the hassle of designing a responsive website. However, developing a Mobile App separately can be expensive and the negative point about Mobile Apps is that they are not part of ‘Open Web’ due to which search engines cannot find them.
Advantages and disadvantages of Responsive Web Design
You cannot consider responsive web design to be one size-fit solution for all mobiles. It is not exactly a replacement for mobile websites. However, it is pretty much in demand and has a lot of advantages. Along with the advantages, everything has its own disadvantages and so does responsive web designing. Let us take a look at pros and cons of responsive web designing.
Advantages of Responsive web design
It obviously makes your website user friendly because it fits into any screen of almost any device. These days when technology is evolving like anything and everyday new smart phones are being introduced, if you have a responsive web design, people will be able to stay connected with your website which is a plus point of developing a responsive website.
With the help of responsive website you can get the complete view of all the traffic on your website. All you need to do is create a mobile segment and you can get all the necessary information related to the traffic coming towards your site. Traffic stats are always useful in analyzing the site’s performance and taking positive steps to improve it.
Responsive web design also gives you as an owner of the website to be able to collect all social sharing links with a single URL. This will allow you to make positive contributions for better and user friendly website.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engines are also getting smarter with every passing day and they are intelligent enough to figure out the connection of mobile websites and desktop websites.
One of the biggest advantages of Responsive web designing is that you will not have to take care of any redirects and it involves no user-agent targeting. So, development wise, it is a great thing when you are less responsible for handling redirects and targeted users.
By developing a separate mobile website, you are increasing your work load. You will be maintaining two separate websites. If you have a responsive website, the maintenance is very minimal because there will be only one layout which will be working for all sorts of devices which will obviously reduce your work.
Drawbacks of Responsive Web Design
Takes time to load
Although, it is not a big deal but, in responsive web designs users’ will have to download HTML/CSS which seems quite unnecessary. Apart from this the images are not properly resized to fir according the device which is exactly why they take double amount of time to load.
Search Engine Optimization
When it comes to responsive web design, determining keywords for search engines is not an easy task. Since mobile users use different keywords in comparison to regular desktop users, adjusting titles and other stuff can be difficult.
If your responsive website is based only on mobile-content, it will affect your Google ranking because Google doesn’t support such websites and it will not index your website.
Developing a responsive website can be time consuming. It takes more time if you plan to convert an existing website into a responsive one. If you want a responsive web design, a good suggestion would be to scratch from the start.
The layouts of responsive web designs are mostly fluid which is why designers do not have much control on how the ‘in-between’ design will look like. Also, it is quite time taking for the designers to display all the replicas in advance. Designers try to show both wireframes and mock-ups for both layouts i.e., mobile and desktop. If both layouts are approved, only them responsive web designing strategy is implemented.
Responsive web design is not meant for all kinds of websites. Although, due to the recent advancement in technology, visits to websites from mobile has increased but still among all the top and most famous websites, only 9% have their mobile websites ready. However, the good news is that Google has recommended responsive web design configuration which is bound to make it more popular.