Since 2016, Google has been indexing websites based on mobile sites (with responsive web design) rather than desktop sites.
There was a time that websites had to be built separately for mobile or desktop users. While it was easier for developers to work this way, there were various demerits to this setup. For starters, there were instances when different sites had to be built for different mobile devices. The costs that came with building and maintaining multiple sites were simply ridiculous.
Thankfully those days are way behind us now. Responsive web design has totally revolutionized how web developers create sites today. Through this new approach, websites are designed to offer optimal viewing experience for all devices both mobile and desktop.
How Responsive Web Design Came to Be
After realizing the environment of mobile devices was growing in terms of browsers, screen orientations and sizes, Ethan Marcotte, came up with a responsive design. He proposed that websites should be designed flexibly with a fluid layout that can easily adapt to any device. This concept has been embraced by developers everywhere. Even search engines like Google now favor websites with a responsive design that makes them mobile friendly.
Principles in Responsive Web Design
For any website to work responsively, it ought to feature the following key elements.
1. Grids Should Be Flexible
The heart of responsive design lies in having a fluid grid layout. This layout capitalizes on relative sizing that fits web content to any screen size as appropriate. Relative sizing here means that none of the static grid frameworks is implemented. Developers instead position the content using CSS. Therefore, traditional design principles that were pixel-based are abandoned in favor of modern percentages. The pixel-based design isn’t responsive in that one pixel on my design may be ten pixels on your device. However, by basing the layout on percentages, any page will adjust to any size relative to the screen being used.
2. Breakpoints Are Used
Breakpoints are also called media queries. They are used to execute different styles according to the capabilities of the user’s device. It allows a website to detect the device being used and styles the page appropriately. Media queries thus control the height, width, device height, aspect ratio and orientation among many other factors.
3. The Flexibility of Images and Media Is Upheld
By maintaining this flexibility, photos and other media on your site can adapt and load differently based on what device the user has. This is achieved by using CSS overflow or scaling. This flexibility allows images to shrink or expand dynamically so that they fit appropriately into their containers.
Benefits of Having A Responsive Website
Mobile ownership has blossomed greatly recently. Mobile browsing has thus overtaken traditional PC browsing. In fact, in April 2018 Google announced a mobile-first index. Therefore, businesses have steadily increased their mobile presence and now have websites that can be accessed easily across multiple devices. The user experience on your site allows your audience to engage seamlessly with your products and services. By providing the best mobile viewing experience on your website, your business thus grows and benefits greatly.
A quick check through your traffic will reveal that a huge number of visitors browse through your site on mobile devices. Your website must, therefore, be responsive enough to offer these users the best experience possible. This will drive up sales and generate new leads for your business.