Responsive Web Design for a Mobile World
From mobile phones to desktops, and iPads to netbooks, users are visiting websites from an ever growing list of devices. In Q4 2010, the sale of internet capable mobile devices surpassed sales of desktops and laptops (source), and mobile sales have been increasing ever since. What does this mean to website owners? It means that it's becoming more and more likely that your next site visitor will be using a mobile device. Mobile friendly websites have been largely an afterthought in the web design world, but this way of thinking will need to change, quickly.
It's anticipated that by 2015 more web traffic will come from mobile devices than from traditional desktop internet access (source). With that kind of market share, it's important that mobile visitors are no longer ignored. In fact, mobile users should be thought of first as this trend continues.
What is Responsive Web Design?
Often, traditional websites and mobile websites are treated as two different entities. Each site is design separately and built to suit the devices they will be viewed on. This model is becoming more and more difficult because there are so many different screen sizes to consider. With the introduction of tablets and netbooks, traditional and mobile designs don't quite fit the new mid-sized interfaces. Time to add a third design for this category of devices? No. The better approach in some cases is to develop a responsive design.
"Responsive" means that your site can detect the size of the device your visitor is using, and make adjustments for optimal use and visibility. One design can now adjust to match its habitat, and can be managed and maintained in one location. Responsive design is a sleek solution that works with all of the devices on the market today, and devices yet to be invented.
Time to Go Mobile
The mobile revolution is here to stay, and sites that don't keep up with the trend will surely be at a disadvantage. It's impossible to tell how quickly mobile traffic will grow, but the trends tell us that traffic could easily outpace the predictions.
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