Blog: What Is Responsive Web Design, and Why Does It Matter?

Responsive web design allows a website to be used across a range of devices - but how does it work, and why is it so important?

Introduction

Responsive web design is a practice which many web designers are using to create excellent experiences which scale between device sizes. As well as benefitting your customers, there are some excellent benefits for your site's SEO too.

What is Responsive Design?

Responsive design in action My Esports microsite for Yeovil College was built using responsive design

Responsive web design refers to the practice of designing and developing websites which can be viewed on a range of screen sizes and platforms - such as Windows desktops, Macbooks, and smartphones. It supersedes the practice of developing separate websites for mobile and desktop views (such as m.facebook.com and www.facebook.com).

Responsive Design is Not A New Mobile Layout

Responsive design does not mean you need to create two separate layouts for desktop and mobile. Instead, one layout is created, which scales across various device sizes (normally by "viewport width" - the width of the users' browser window).

Designing Responsive Websites

Some designers start by creating a mobile layout, then moving elements around as the viewport width increases - this is called mobile-first design and it's arguably the best option, as screen sizes can grow endlessly (ever heard of those super-expensive 8K monitors?), but they cannot shrink to zero. Other designers will begin by creating a desktop layout, then work on a mobile layout after.

How Responsive Design can Improve SEO

Using responsive design can improve the search engine discoverability of your website, by ensuring your site works on desktop and mobile devices. Search engines like Google rank pages based on a range of criteria, including their relevance, speed, and mobile compatibility. That last one is especially important, and that's where responsive design can allow your website to appear above your competitors.


Thank you for reading!

I am a web designer and developer (and I design mobile-first)! For any enquiries, please contact me. See my other articles here.