What is Responsive Design?

March 11, 2014

Responsive web design may be a term you’ve heard thrown around recently, but what is it and what does it mean for you and your business website? In simplest terms responsive web design allows for one website to work across a range of devices from desktop through to mobile phones and everything in-between and still look great for each device. It responds to the device that’s visiting the website.

So why would you want a responsive website? Well the biggest part is that with the ever increasing amount of smartphones and tablets used for consuming the web these days you’ll want your website to look it’s best no matter where people visit it. A desktop optimized site crammed into an itty-bitty 3.5” screen isn’t going to go down well and those visitors will likely leave to check out a site that they can read on the go. It’s worth identifying how your users use your website, if you’ve got Google Analytics set up then a quick check of the “devices” section will give a breakdown of desktop, tablet, and mobile users. You can also see per-device if they’re fully engaging with your website or not. If you’ve good engagement with your desktop site and low engagement from your mobile visitors then maybe it’s time to look to getting an upgrade?

A responsive website can also have SEO benefits as well, it’s Google’s recommended method of creating mobile friendly websites. Traditionally to make a mobile optimised website you would usually make it on a separate subdomain such as m.yourdomain.co.uk, and have mobile users redirected to this sub-domain. This could slow down site loads for mobile users, and also reduced SEO efforts from targeting just a single domain.

Responsive websites work by using the CSS of the website, which styles the elements of the page to look snazzy and not a raw block of text, to customise the layout based upon the width of the device viewing the page. This also means that you can see a responsive website in action on your desktop by just shrinking the width of the browser and seeing the parts of the site rearrange to fit. It’s all rather smart and if you’re looking to have a modern site built is the way to do it going forward.


Check it out for yourself in action on some of our sites such as Glenearn Flooring which we gave a responsive facelift last year, or the recent John Saint Automotive page. Load it up on your desktop and shrink the browser or check it them out on your phone or tablet.

If you’re wanting to take advantage of the mobile revolution then responsive web design is the way to go. A unified user experience across devices, making your website look great at the desk or on the go. And a great online experience leads to a happy and engaged customer.

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