When you consider offering your website visitors a better experience on mobile devices, the question is if you create a mobile version of your website (m.website.com.au) or if you redesign your website in responsive design.
What is responsive web design?
It “responds” to a wide range of screens; no matter what device your website visitor uses, a common user experience is provided on every screen ranging from tiny smartphones, tablets and desktop computers to large TVs.
Google has visualised this as follows:
We decided for a responsive website as it has some advantages over a mobile site. Here are three:
- The mobile site would technically be a second website to be maintained, to be updated and to be analysed in parallel whereas the responsive site is only one website for all devices. Also, Google recommends having a single URL which helps in indexing.
- The website was originally created for desktops and the mobile website would primarily address smartphones, at the expense of tablets which are increasing in market share. We would have addressed both ends of the scale and left out the embracing middle.
- With a responsive site we feel better prepared for whatever devices will be developed in the future; tablets have been sub-categorised to tablets and mini tablets; also, huge flat-screens are more and more used for browsing the internet; whatever new device there will be, our website will cater to all screen sizes.
How to check if a website is responsive when using a desktop
Simply restore down your window by clicking the middle icon at the top right of your window (assuming you use a Windows computer).
Next, hover your cursor over the right edge of the window; you’ll see a double arrow which you can use for dragging it to the left. If the content renders fluidly according to the window’s size, it is a responsive website; if it just resizes the window and the content stays the same, it is a static website, not responding to different screen sizes.
Check how your website looks on various screen sizes even if you don’t have all devices
Don’t have various devices on hand? No problem. Visualise the appearance of your website with this free tool. Simply enter your URL and see how your website looks currently on a mobile phone (landscape and portrait), a tablet (landscape and portrait) or a desktop:
If you want to dive into more detail regarding responsive web design, here are some useful links providing even more links: