It’s Time to be “Responsive”

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In our last blog about Web designs trends for 2015, we mentioned the importance of having a responsive Website. Since then we have had a couple of people inquire about what responsive really means and how to accomplish this.

Responsive Web Design (RWD) is a Website design that is optimally displayed regardless of the platform/device being used. A few years ago, before Websites were built with RWD in mind, it was difficult to view most Websites on mobile devices. As Smartphones became more popular, companies were searching for ways to make sure their site could be viewed from anywhere. This led to the creation of RWD. Now it’s a staple and without RWD, you’re probably missing out on sales.

The nice thing about RWD is that if you’re starting from scratch with your Website or even redesigning it, it’s super easy to build your site using RWD from the start. In fact, if you’re using one of the many Content Management Systems (CMS) that most small- to medium-sized businesses are using, there is a pretty high chance the template you’re using is already setup to be responsive. WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are just a few of the many systems that offer plenty of responsive templates. If you’re planning to build a site from scratch, it might be a little more difficult, but still not impossible.

If you’re happy with your overall Website and you just want to make it responsive, this is where things get a little more difficult. Chances are if your site is not optimized for mobile, you’re not using a template that is already setup to be responsive, or your site just wasn’t built with this design in mind. Adding in the responsive code just isn’t as easy as one might think and can be costly. If you’re planning a site overhaul for 2016, you might actually be better off waiting to make your site responsive at that point as it will save you some money (but at least look into the costs now). On the flip side, if you’re having a Web Builder create your site from scratch, they sometimes give you two quotes: one will include responsive in the first round and the other quote is in case you want to save money now and add the responsive on at a later date. Just have them make the site responsive in the first go-round. More money upfront? Yes. But you will actually save a significant amount of money by doing this.

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If your Web Builder is using one of the CMS mentioned above (and some others) to create your site, chances are they can choose a template that will automatically generate a responsive design and it won’t cost you anything additional. But it’s still worth asking about upfront.

There are two Website trends that we are starting to see a lot of and it’s due, in large part, to RWD. One we mentioned in our design trends for 2015 and that is simplification. Because more people are starting to view Websites on their mobile devices, they are getting used to simple, straight-forward content. No fluff. No add-ons. They just want the message. Because of this, more companies are creating their marketing materials and Websites with much more streamlined content.

The second thing that we’re seeing a lot of is Off-canvas Navigation, or Hidden Menus. Showing a menu on a Website on a mobile device can take up a lot of space, so developers started using the three horizontally stacked lines at a top corner to let the user know more information exists if you touch that icon. This has been a welcomed addition to the design world and more designers are now using something similar for Websites being viewed on desktops as well.

If you’re not sure how to proceed on making your site responsive, contact us. We’d love to look at and evaluate your current site and provide you with more information on what your next steps should be.