Even if you have no interest in technology and keeping up with the latest devices, it would be hard not to have noticed how much smartphones and tablet computers are being used in everyday life. It has been reported that majority smartphone users check their phones for new messages and notifications before they even get out of bed in the morning.
Outside of the workplace, smartphones and tablets have become the devices used most often to access the internet. When you can get on the web instantly on a phone or tablet, why would you bother going to the effort of booting up your laptop?
If you have a website for your small business, this means that it is essential for your website to deliver the same great experience on a smartphone as it does on a desktop or laptop computer. Want to find out what it takes to make a website work well on a mobile device? Read on for some essential information for website owners.
Obviously the major difference between a smartphone or tablet and a desktop computer or laptop is screen size and orientation. Most laptop screens are around 15 inches in size, desktop computers start at around 19 inches and they are all in landscape orientation.
Most smartphones have a screen sizes of around 4 inches corner to corner, whilst tablets are typically between 7 and 10 inches. Most tablets and smartphones are used in portrait orientation, but can be turned through 90 degrees and used in landscape orientation.
To get your website to work on such a variety of screen sizes it has to be responsive. Web developers use the word responsive to refer to websites that adapt to the screen size they are displayed in. Responsive websites will can change the layout of the content, the website navigation and the sizes of images and text dependent on the screen size the website is being displayed in.
How can I find out if my website is responsive?
A simple way to find out is to view your website on your desktop or laptop computer and make the browser window as small as possible by clicking in the bottom right corner of the browser and dragging inwards so that it resizes.
If when you do this you see your content adapt to the size of the browser so that it is still readable, chances are it is a responsive website.
If, however you see your website shrink to an unreadable size or if half of the content disappears out of one side of the browser, your website isn’t responsive.
Can my website be made responsive?
This depends on quite a lot of things, most of which would be too technical to discuss here, to find out if your website could be converted into a responsive one we’d recommend speaking to your website developer.
Keeping this in mind we spoke to Simon, the design boffin from Way Fresh in Newcastle, he told us “if your website was designed and built before the responsive age…say two or three years ago, now would be a good time to rebuild the site from the ground up. This would allow you freshen up the design and make it responsive whilst keeping the same content”.
Keeping your website fresh in appearance will help keep your customers engaged and interested in your website, so we really like Simon’s approach.
Will a responsive website be future proof?
If you are considering a new build of your website to make it responsive it is a reasonable question to ask if your new website build will be obsolete in a few years’ time.
We asked Liam of Identify Web Design in West Yorkshire about ‘future proofing’ your website. He told us “It is very difficult to say what devices people will use to browse the web a few years from now. What does seem certain is that the variety of screen sizes will continue to increase. The best way we have of making a website work across a number of screen sizes and devices is to make them responsive. Anyone considering a new website or a website upgrade must ensure it is accessible on as many devices as possible.”
Want to find out more?
If you are considering a responsive website and would like to find out more, we recommend checking out Search Engine Watch. The article is written more from an SEO (search engine optimisation) perspective and is a bit more technical than our article, but well worth a read.
As always thank you for reading our blog post. If you have any recently had a new responsive website built and would like to share your experience, leave us a comment here on the blog.