What is a Responsive Website?

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You may have noticed that as the years tick away, we are looking at websites on a variety of different screen sizes. We no longer only looking at our desktop machine like we did in the good old 90's (your dial up modem chirping away, forcing us to surf the web at home). Instead, we are looking at websites out and about via our phones, our tablets, our laptops or at home via our TV. Maybe you have noticed or maybe technology has simply sneaked up on you. As a result of these many different screen sizes, producing websites for all of these devices is now expected by web developers. Before we dive into how our web team can produce a responsive website for you, I want to give a brief explanation and history of what this is all about.

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Remember this? Sitting at home trying to connect to the internet, then realising your mother was on the phone! My, we have come a long way in the last 20 years!

Web design has had to move with the times in order to keep up with the ever increasing pace of changing technology. Devices are being developed that are all shapes and sizes, with 4G and lightning fast Fibre Optic internet connections becoming the norm. As soon as mobile phones became capable of browsing the web, it quickly became apparent that regular 'desktop' websites were not optimised to view on smartphone devices. If you have ever come across an old website that has not been optimised for mobile use, you will have no doubt become quickly frustrated, not being able to browse the site easily and promptly leaving. Another customer opportunity lost for said company (and because of bad web design).

Some of these issues can be - images are too small to see, text is too small to read, slideshows are the wrong orientation, menus are not easily accessible etc. It can be disastrous if a business has not considered mobile phone responsiveness and has not updated their website accordingly. Not only do people leave a site immediately if a site is hard to navigate or looks terrible on their smartphones, but mobile web surfing has overtaken desktop browsing for the first time in recent years. Furthermore, Google has started to penalise websites in search rankings if their websites are not mobile friendly. 


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Now we're up to speed and back in the present day, we can discuss how important mobile responsive websites are and why they are an integral part of any modern website. It used to be that designers would create a separate mobile version of a site, which would be brought up if the browser detected a smaller screen. However, this is now considered bad practice and very outdated. This means that web designers need to code websites to fit ALL SCREEN SIZES (so that they can adjust their behaviour accordingly). It also means that different sliders and images might need to be made specifically for mobile, text and headers may need to change size to be more easily read, and menus need to be adjusted so that they display better on mobiles instead of trailing off the sides of the site.  

The first glaring difference between a desktop (landscape) screen and a mobile (portrait) screen, is that they are different orientations from each other. So if you have a long menu along the top in a desktop version, it will not work in the shorts space along the top of the mobile -  there simply isn't enough space for the menu to exist in this way. This is where the 'hamburger' menu has become widely used. The same for slideshows - they are generally created for desktop, which means they are landscape orientation. However, when fitting this into a mobile screen size, the landscape slideshow will also be squished down to fit this proportion, which makes it only a slither of the size of the screen and therefore difficult to see. 

Desktop Version of a Website

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Mobile Version of a Website

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Most clients assume that a website that is made for desktop is ready for mobile in a click of a button - this is not true. Our web designer, like many others, actually finishes the desktop version of the website first and then goes through the entire site to code in the mobile responsiveness. This often involves creating new slideshows and new artwork for parts of the website, in order to fit the new screen size of a mobile phone. 

So as you can see, making a website mobile responsive is very important in modern times, especially as Google have just announced that more people than ever are now browsing their websites via mobile. Simplysigns offer mobile responsiveness on all websites as standard, and recommend that websites are refreshed/updated every 3 years to make sure they work with modern browsers and look up to date. This will generally convert more website views into sales, as people who see tired old websites are more likely to leave that website and look somewhere else. 

If you'd like to browse our awesome web portfolio and see what Simplysigns can do for your website, please visit simplysigns.com/web


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