Websites that adjust the presentation of content depending on the device they are being viewed on are called “responsive” sites. In 2015, for the first time, more people will access the Internet on mobile devices, than on computers.
In consideration of this, responsive design has become a very hot topic to the point where Google announced in April 2015 a change to their search engine that would begin penalizing sites that were not responsive with poor search rankings.
This means a responsive site should be front and center in your small business marketing priorities.
Read more: Using heavily vertical designs
A “heavily vertical” type of site that is gaining broad acceptance for its information presentation also helps make the site responsive. These sites present information in a vertical hierarchy where the user scrolls downward to access additional detail. Instead of older designs with information (like side bars and menus) off to the side of the main content, vertical designs usually dispense with every thing but a menu at the top of the page and content flowing downward. (Or, in some cases, a sidebar that “floats” along as the user scrolls).
As content scrolls downward, detail becomes greater, providing information optimally presented for each type of site visitor.
Read more: Graphics on responsive sites
Graphics on responsive sites
The most important consideration for a responsive site is how graphics are handled across different devices the site is viewed on. Display resolution from device to device can vary widely, with some older mobile device having limited resolution and some newer devices actually having more display resolution than your computer monitor.
Your website developer will need to have several different versions of graphics available so that the site will display correctly across multiple devices.
Make sure you do some testing anyway, there can always be surprises.
Again, you want your graphics to enhance the UX. Good graphics do that, stretched, blurry, or low resolution graphics do exactly the opposite.
Read more: Considerations for older sites
Considerations for older sites
Making an older site responsive can actually be quite a challenge. The changes required may impact the overall layout and design of the site; resulting in needed changes that go far beyond just an update with some new graphic content. Older websites tend to have been designed around presentation on a traditional computer screen. In many cases, the maximum screen resolution considered in the design may have been 1024×768. That was very true for most computers only a few short years ago. Even the screen aspect ratio in older designs will be 4:3, not the current 16:9 standard. Older sites also tend to have a “wrap around” type of menu design. Often this features menus and other screen elements down one or both sides of the page. Such designs are at odds with responsive sites which must continually resize the display presentation based on the device the site is being viewed on. As tough as it is to accept, most often we recommend a complete redesign of older sites. Not only does this make the site responsive, but brings general design elements up to date, makes the site more supportable from a maintenance standpoint, and pushes out further yet when the next site update will be needed.