Responsive website design isn't a concept that's brand new. However, the fact that this type of website design isn't brand new is actually one of the reasons why it's become so popular. While other design approaches have come and gone, responsive website design has stood the test of Internet time and proven to be the best way to deal with a very common issue.
If you're wondering what issue this type of design addresses so well, it's the fact that people can now use dozens of different devices, browsers and operating systems to get online. Because people screen size can range anywhere from 3 to 30 inches, it may seem next to impossible to deliver a consistent experience to website visitors. However, that's exactly where a responsive website shines so brightly. Since this design automatically adjusts to the screen it's loaded on, you don't have to worry about alienating segments of your visitors. Instead, your site will always look great regardless of how it's being accessed.
This is especially useful for someone who initially visits your site on a laptop, and later navigates back to it on their mobile device. Because most online users visit a site multiple times before taking any action, that scenario is quite common. And by utilizing the power of responsive web design, you can keep visitors happy during all of their visits.
What About a Mobile Website or App?
It was that long ago when many people assumed that the answer to the challenge of mobile website design was to create a mobile version of a website. However, there are two important reasons that approach simply does not work very well. First, mobile sites virtually never offer all of the same functionality as the full site. Since that can be very frustrating to visitors, this approach can actually reduce accessibility instead of increasing it.
Second, just because two devices have 4? screens does not mean they handle content the same way. If you've ever looked at the web browsers of an iOS and Android device next to each other, you know that they render things quite differently. As a result, mobile versions of a site simply can't address all the possibilities they may encounter.
The great thing about responsive design is it does not remove functionality from a site just because it's loaded on a smaller screen. Instead, it simply adjusts the sizing and layout to ensure they're ideally suited for that device. And because this is all done in an automatic, fluid fashion, a responsive website doesn't have any shortcomings in terms of being loaded on multiple operating systems and browsers.
The other potential mobile website design solution some people consider is an app. But while an app can make sense if it provides some special features, for the average business website, forcing visitors to download an app is simply an unnecessary burden.