Should your website be responsive?

Responsive design has been around since 2011, but has really taken off over the last couple of years. With so many different devices available to view websites, originally different versions were required for each technology to be viewed properly. This increased fragmentation of screen resolutions, laptop, ultrabooks, tablet devices and smart phones presented challenges. The thinking dictated that if you wanted a website that looks good on a mobile, you would build multiple versions of your website for multiple devices. This would be both time consuming and costly to setup and maintain.

With the increase in web technologies and the support of all modern browsers (IE8+, Firefox 3+, Safari 4+, Opera, Chrome), responsive design has allowed websites to respond to a wide range of devices. If a user accesses the website on their laptop and then switches to the same website on their iPad the website can automatically tailor itself to the screen size and technical capabilities of the iPad. The same principle holds for any non-Apple tablet devices too. The website can dynamically adapt its image sizes, content layout, and navigation structure to suit. The website should be smart enough to respond to your user’s preferences for interacting with your website without the need to build something new for every new device that comes on the market.

So most modern websites should be responsive, but whether you should upgrade your website purely to allow for multiple devices really depends on your users and how they interact with your website. Make sure you check your analytics to get a better idea on your users and the technology they use.