A responsive website is one which adjusts it’s layout to fit various screen sizes. 10+ years ago, websites were all designed to fit well only on laptop and desktop screens. Nowadays, a website needs to fit (and work!) on screen sizes much smaller. An unresponsive website can suffer a huge loss in visitors and can see it’s self drop in search engine rankings.
All websites I build, no matter how small the job, are responsive. I just like to emphasise the importance of responsiveness, so I put it in it’s own page.
If, however, you need to responsify an existing website of yours, then I do this service.
A website’s content, just like anything physical, has dimensions and sizes. You may have noticed that: some websites span the whole width of your screen; some are about half the screen width and are centered in the middle; and, some are in between. The outer width of a website’s content is, of course, up to the people/person designing the website. Before mobiles had (decent) browsers and before the days of tablets, designers would set a website’s width to one which they were sure would fit on any laptop or desktop screen and the websites width would be the same on any screen size. The standard width of a website, back in the day, was usually 980 pixels (because almost all laptops’ and desktops’ screens were at least this width).
Nowadays, screen widths can be much less than 980 pixels (mobiles and tablets). A website with a fixed width of 980 pixels will not fit in, for example, an iPhone 6. The user will have to scroll sideways, making it a bit of a pain to use (not user-friendly). A website should have a fluid layout – meaning that it’s outer width, and it’s contents, adjust their dimensions and layout to fit the width of whatever screen size it’s being viewed on. To put it in one sentence, a website’s width should never be greater than the width of the screen on which it is being viewed.
Responsiveness is one part of making a website mobile-friendly. It’s also about increasing performance on smaller devices. If a website has many components, then it may become slow on smaller devices (due to hardware resources and/or mobile signal strength). As part of making a website mobile-friendly, it may be wise to completely remove components/functionality. E.g. Facebook – you will notice that the desktop version allows you to do much more in terms of functions. If they were to cram it all into the mobile version of the website, it will no-doubt become sluggish.
If you have ever come across an unresponsive/non mobile-friendly website, whilst browsing on a mobile device, then you will know it. The website will be slow-to-load, it won’t fit on your screen and you’ll have to scroll every-which way and maybe adjust the zoom to find and read what you’re looking for… It’s not just you, it greatly frustrates everyone! Following this frustration people will leave a website, never to return.
You run a hairdressers and you have a website, which is unresponsive. A potential customer is on their mobile, searching Google for hairdressers in the local area. Google shows him a list of various hairdressers in the area. He clicks on your website and finds that the writing in very small and he is having to zoom in and out and, after 5 seconds, the website hasn’t even finished loading yet! He can’t handle the frustration so he goes back to Google’s search results and tries the next hairdresser’s website.
Mobile-friendliness is also a factor which all major search engines use to rank websites in search results. This means that a responsive website could be preferred and so a search engine would show it higher than a non-responsive competitor.
More than half of all internet usage is now on mobile devices!
Even today, some web designers build websites that are not at all responsive. Some because they charge extra for it, and some because they are simply falling behind. Every website built in the last several years should be responsive as standard, and all of mine are.