Many of your customers spend a lot of their day traveling. During this time, they have mobile devices with Internet access on hand: laptops, netbooks, tablets and smartphones. People spend a lot of time on the web – that is proven. It is also a fact that people’s attention span and ability to absorb information can be amazingly high during these periods. Not capturing this as a way of boosting revenue would mean losing out massively. Unfortunately, many companies do not realize that having user-friendly layouts for their Internet site on the relevant devices is absolutely crucial. If a user cannot call up your content within seconds in a format that is easy to read, they will simply leave your site – regardless of how valuable or relevant the content might be to them. However, if they find a perfectly optimized website design that is easy to consume, then that user will quickly become a mobile customer. What we’re talking about is “responsive web design”.

Responsive web design involves programming your websites so that they automatically adjust both display parameters and resolution to suit the relevant end device. This applies to all content, navigation elements and the page structure itself. Since responsive web design interacts with the user’s end device, the user perceives this as an adaptation to fit their habits. Consequently, excellent responsive web design means more than just functionality; it is also a service that acts as a business card and showcases your company as a customer-oriented, cutting-edge provider. In other words: responsive web design is the cure for bounce and the key to conversion.

Responsive web design: tailored content for demanding users

A truly cutting-edge website comprises website design for displaying on computers as well as automatic display optimization for netbooks, tablets and smartphones. Responsive web design programming does not specify fixed font or image sizes. Instead, individual responsive web design elements automatically adjust, depending on the end device, to deliver the best possible layout and legibility. This means that a responsive web design layout optimized for iPads can look fundamentally different from the layout for a Samsung smartphone. Yet the content stays the same. So the secret behind successful responsive web design is successful programming that ensures conformity across all devices. Not only that, but your web presence is most often perceived as attractive and homogeneous when the web design is aimed at a variety of displays right from the start. There are various criteria to consider when realizing responsive web design.

In terms of programming technology, responsive web design uses HTML5 and CSS3 media queries to ensure that content is displayed consistently. It is absolutely vital that all responsive web design components, such as text, tables, images, videos and interactive elements, are in a position to adapt accordingly. If you were forced to create a separate mobile variant of the website design for each mobile end device alongside the usual desktop variant, the maintenance work and cost involved with constant reprogramming would be infinite. Even native apps – usually add-on programs available for a fee – dependent on a platform and developed in a specific programming language for an operating system or device are now surplus to requirements thanks to responsive web design. Despite the programming work involved in responsive web design for your websites, it is always the most cost-efficient solution in the medium term.

Responsive web design brings programming technology challenges, but is worth it in the end

How does responsive web design work at programming level? Firstly, responsive web design does not use static layout grids. Many conventional PC programmers now face the challenge of thinking in terms of percentages instead of fixed pixel ratios. In actual fact, sites with responsive web design are more complex to program and need careful, thorough planning in the concept design phase. Still, eliminating the need for maintenance every night shift makes it all worthwhile in the end. The “mobile first” approach has proven highly effective in responsive web design – in other words, the most compact smartphone layout is designed first and realized in terms of programming. Adding responsive web design layout elements subsequently has proven to be less time-consuming than eliminating them in a top-down approach. Font size also becomes a flexible value in responsive web design, which is either specified as a percentage or is automatically scaled by integrated programs to fit the display size. Responsive web design also scales images and videos, not least so as to avoid unnecessarily long loading times without sacrificing sharpness or precision. However, in this case, designers, programmers and website operators working together decide whether all of the images are actually needed in every layout, for reasons of resource efficiency.

For responsive web design programming and plug-ins to be effective, the browser must initially query the end device’s identity. The end device then communicates its “viewport”. A viewport describes the exact area in the application window that is allocated to displaying content. If, for example, the layout needs to be optimized for iPad or iPhones, the respective devices communicate their individual viewports. Based on this information, CSS content can be output accordingly using media queries. The prerequisite for this is, of course, that the browser can handle CSS3 media queries. These and other responsive web design criteria, such as volume of content and loading times, are best evaluated and adjusted via a generous test phase, during which your websites are output on as many end devices as possible and the results analyzed.

It is essential that you schedule enough development time for creating your site using responsive web design. Your users will thank you for it. After all, you are no longer dealing with a market where only the youngest target group sees mobile Internet as compulsory. All potential customers under 65 (and often older) are now also online while on the move. But these users are not willing to accept poor display quality and usability. You have to respond to these concerns with responsive web design if a cutting-edge website is the key to your corporate image and conversion rate. Particularly in e-commerce, the underlying foundation of future-oriented marketing is a multi channel presence through responsive web design.

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