The birth of web design came out of print design. What does this mean? It means that the thought process around what websites actually were when they first appeared wasn’t much different to a book with pages. Fancy page layout was what designers would strive for, and think about. In fact, to this day the home page of any given website is referred to as the ‘index’ by the web development folk. It’s no surprise then that the process that web designers have adopted from their print foundation has been moving steadily away from that mentality; to stop thinking of a website as a series of pages. Nothing has helped that departure more than the advent of responsive websites.
What is a responsive website? Quite simply, responsive websites are the answer to the question ‘How do we fit our website on all these different screen sizes across all these different devices that now access the internet?’ A responsive website is designed to collapse, expand, and shift its layout to fit any device it’s viewed on. This eliminates the need for users to zoom into tiny websites on their phone. Some call this being mobile-friendly. There has been a very positive side effect to addressing this need; it has caused a new movement in web design, one being largely unhinged from print ideology – and it looks good!
Why would I use the word movement? Web designers tend to stick together as a pack, they have trends that they all contribute to and talk about. They leave previous ideas in the dust. Pablo Picasso said it very confusingly, “Good artists copy, great artists steal”. What better way is there to design for an end user than to give them something that they are already familiar with? Conforming to people’s existing affordances is often more important than being novel. This is why there is a strong sense to follow a design trend in this industry. Because of that movement, responsive design is becoming more and more beautiful, useful, and also – essential.
What does this mean for you? Well, that same design movement means non-responsive websites are just about retired from the production line, they simply aren’t really being made anymore. Business owners are shifting in their seats this year as responsive design is now being termed ‘mandatory’ by digital giants like Google. In fact as of the 21st of this month, mobile search results (30% of all web searches) will serve mobile-friendly results with extreme priority, if not exclusively.
The deadline is coming soon. If you are still unsure why this is so important, check out some of these sites that we have created. We are designing to accommodate all visitors on all devices, whether it’s your phone, TV, tablet, laptop or desktop.
– Kyle Wetton, Web Designer
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