Responsive website design refers to designing a website that presents itself in the best possible way for the device it’s being viewed on. The SIS website uses responsive design, so if you’re using a desktop computer try changing the width of this window from stretching all the way across your screen to shrinking it as small as it will go. As you change the size of the window, you’ll see parts of the site rearrange themselves. That is responsive website design.
Why Responsive Design
More people today are using mobile devices like phones and tablets to access websites than ever before. You never know how someone may access your site, so you want to prepare for all possibilities.
Traditional sites can cause a few problems when viewed on a smaller screen like on a phone.
- The text can appear very small. The size of your font and the length of your lines of text might look nice when they appear on a computer monitor, but they could be unreadably small on a phone screen. A responsive website will resize the text and change the line breaks to keep everything readable.
- Traditional menus can be difficult to use on a phone. Typical website menus that require you to hover your mouse over one item on the menu to see the other menu-items that are “below” it in the menu-order sometimes don’t even work on a phone. Instead, responsive websites usually entirely change the menu to function as a drop-down list, making it much easier to navigate on a small screen.
- Many site layouts are designed for wide screens, not vertically aligned phone screens. Your computer screen is probably horizontally aligned. That means if your site were designed only for your computer monitor it would probably have multiple vertical elements (like sidebars). When the width of your screen is only three inches across, though, it can be difficult to make sense of what you’re looking at. A responsive site will take sidebars and move them from the side of the screen to below the other content when viewed on a phone.
How to Use Responsive Website Design
Taking advantage of the benefits of responsive website design is surprisingly simple. Many of the common website-building tools (like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal) include templates and tools to help you build a responsive website. If you are working with a marketing partner to build your site, ask them about responsive website design, and make sure your site will be responsive.