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Tips to Ease the Transition to Responsive Design

Posted by Tara Weber on January 02, 2013

According to the latest industry stats, more than half of U.S. mobile phone users are using smartphones to access the Web, so businesses are rushing to find a solution to reconfigure their sites. Responsive design seems to be the right fit for most of them. In a nutshell, responsive design is a website designed to automatically configure to the visitor's browser size.This way, whether visitors are viewing your website from a cell phone, laptop or tablet, they're able to use the website the same way. A responsive website is able to reconfigure automatically because of the HTML code with which it is built.

People visiting the website from a regular computer will be presented with a three-column layout with the navigation on the left, the callouts on the right and the content in the middle. However, users visiting this website from a tablet, Android or iOS-powered phone will see the single-column layout without a callout. Most businesses find responsive design more productive when it comes to making the site more user-friendly. Websites that don't configure to the size of the user's screen are frustrating to smartphone and tablet users, since they're not able to see everything without scrolling or minimizing their screens.

How to Transition to a Responsive Design
With more users than ever using smart devices to access the Web, businesses are scrambling tfor ways to make their mobile strategies more effective. One obviously strategy it to transition to responsive design.

Below are a few tips to make the transition easier:

  • Implement your content strategy starting with the smallest display and working up to the largest. When devising your content strategy, keep in mind what you would like your smartphone users to access and what you would like your tablet and PC users to access. What information is it that they need? Afterward, adjust the content for each display, working from smallest to largest.
  • Consider your risk before getting started. No Web strategy is without risks, and that also applies to the responsive approach. The responsive approach is complex in nature, so you must consider the complexity before transitioning over.
  • Break out of the silos and work together. For responsive design to work, teams must work together instead of working in silos. For the responsive approach to be successful, all designers must work together from the start. This requires a great deal of discipline and communication in order for the responsive approach to be effective.
  • Taking the responsive design approach improves ROI across all levels. Customers will be presented with better website functioning, which will increase popularity of your brand. In addition, the responsive approach naturally improves search engine optimization, so more people are able to find your website, which increases your revenue.

Pros of Using Responsive Design

  • Better ROI and SEO
  • Better user experience
  • Better layout

Cons

  • Font still may not be big enough for mobile phone users to read, so some users will have to zoom in to read the text, which takes the design outside of the screen size
  • Difficulty adding in navigation

Armed with a better understanding of what will help your responsive design strategy work, consider taking the plunge. By adopting the responsive design methodology, your company or organization can significantly enhance its online presence across all devices and channels, resulting in a superior user experience.