Making a Site Responsive and Why It Matters
We live in a day and age where everyone is glued to their phone. More people are starting to use mobile devices to surf the web, and as a result, sites need to be prepared for this increase in mobile traffic. In the past, the standard was to create a separate mobile site designed specifically for smaller devices, but one of the more popular methods to come up in the last few years is responsive design.
Responsive Design puts mobile first
The beauty of responsive design is that you can add styling to your site, which is only applied when the web browser becomes a certain size. Because of this, designing a responsive theme focuses on figuring out how to turn design A into design B. It forces the designer to keep the mobile version of the site in mind, since there is little point in making your site responsive if you’re not focusing on mobile.
When making a truly responsive site, the elements that style the desktop usually match the styling that would eventually be applied to the mobile site, such as using percents for widths and making elements float. This makes for a better designed site that is compatible for both mobile and desktop.
Responsive Design accounts for all screen sizes
There are new devices being created every year that use screen sizes that have never been used before. It’s impossible to consider all of these screen sizes, but luckily you don’t have to thanks to responsive design. Since a responsive site adjusts itself based on the screen size, you never have to worry about a user having to use a side scroll on a device you’ve never heard of. Some tailoring is required to get a site to be responsive enough to look great on any devices, but a site is not truly responsive if it isn’t prepared for any screen size.
Responsive Design saves you time
The old convention was to use a separate mobile site that is viewable only on mobile devices. This effectively creates a second site that you have to manage, which means you have to do double the work to maintain your website. A site with an effective use of responsive design uses the same site on both mobile and desktop, so the only thing that changes is the frontend. It is still a common practice to use a mobile version of websites instead of using responsive design, but these sites do not account for tablets or other devices that are larger than a phone, but smaller than a desktop. To get the same effect as a responsive site, you would need 3 different sites: one for mobile, one for tablets, and one for desktops. With a responsive site, you can knock out all 3 designs in just a couple of files. It may take some time to properly create a responsive theme, but you’ll save yourself way more time using responsive design than you will using a mobile version of your site.
Making your site responsive not only makes your site look good on any device, but it saves you time in the long run. Magento has already jumped aboard the responsive train, and eventually the entire web will be responsive. Get on board now before you’re left behind!