Responsive web design: Crafting websites for people and devices

Written by Emily Bear

The internet has become the world’s supply hub, and people access it daily, voraciously, and on multiple devices. As websites have become increasingly popular and necessary to the way the world’s news, business and entertainment spheres run, it has become increasingly important to fine tune, connect, and improve the online experience.

But, with this huge increase in smartphone, laptop, and tablet availability in the internet age, and the resulting increase in daily online consumption, the tech and web design industry has had to refocus and regroup.

The new focus is on the audience.

The regroup is for the behind-the-scenes people - coders, designers, other web developers. Web developers have had to put forth a lot of effort to better understand and improve the interaction between audience and tech. Simply put, everything online these days has to work toward a great overall user experience. One way web designers do that is through Responsive Web Design.

What is Responsive Web Design?

Responsive Web Design is the process of crafting websites whose layout and design adapts to fit any device a person uses to access the internet.



Think about your favorite websites. How often do you use them throughout the week? Throughout the day? Throughout an hour? Google, the king of all search engines, gets an estimated 100 million hits per hour. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter get upwards of 50 million posts a day. So, if you’re anything like the rest of the world, you’re on the internet - and you’re on it often. More importantly, you’re probably used to these websites running pretty nicely for you, no matter if you’re hanging out on your desktop, laptop or smart phone. That’s because companies like these understand that huge demand for their product, channeled through their website, means huge demand for their website. They’ve put a lot of work into creating websites that appeal to any user on any device in any place. They understand that for an awesome overall user experience, an online interface has to be beautiful, efficient, easy to navigate, and consistent to everyone everywhere; a website has to offer the same attractive design and content to the guy in the office checking it out from his desktop and to the lady walking down the street accessing it on a smart phone.

But, this scenario is not necessarily happening with every company and website. Some websites still have completely separate desktop and mobile interfaces, while others have only one design in total. Unfortunately, this makes for an inconsistent experience for users that switch between devices throughout their day. These websites are “unresponsive” in that their content - and maybe their business - has not adapted to the changes in internet usage in recent history.

From an internet age perspective, no business wants a potential or devoted client to access its website on desktop, fall in love with the interface, then access it on another device and encounter design, functionality, or content problems - and, as a result, lose overall interest in the website - think, overall interest in the business.

Websites nowadays have to be fresh, attractive, efficient and consistent between all platforms. That means optimizing design, and streamlining content to be accessible and easy to process on all interfaces as one interactive experience.

Barring any sort of internet catastrophe - I’m looking at you twitter fail whale - it makes perfect sense that in today’s adapt-or-become-irrelevant internet age, web designers’ chief worries have turned to catering to every person and every device that accesses their website in order to keep their readers/buyers/clients interested and engaged. It’s all about preventing internet standstill between devices and promoting a smooth, inter-connected user experience.

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