Our Blog

Posted by

Richard Vickers

Account Manager

Responsive Web Design for mobile devices

Recent figures from the Q4-2012 Ipsos Mori Technology Tracker show us that 44% of adult internet users have accessed the internet via smartphones, a figure that has been steadily rising in line with smartphone ownership which is now at around 50% in the UK.

We are very aware that a charity may be risking user engagement and therefore donations by not reacting hastily to user trends so have been recommending that clients consider some kind of mobile optimisation on every new project that we approach and have been retrofitting existing websites that we have built previously with responsive technologies.

Instead of having two separate websites, each having a separate design and needing to be maintained separately, sites that use a responsive design incorporate different styling for different device profiles to make the site fit onto different sized screens, without the need for horizontal scrolling.

A responsive design affects more than just styling however. On a reduced size screen such as a smartphone there is less space for navigation and on-page elements, so certain content may be hidden such as large feature images that are only there for decoration. Certain buttons and adverts used on pages may also be hidden.

In order to make the site responsive, this needs to be considered at all stages of the design, planning and construction process, which is why it’s more difficult and less effective to retrospectively add responsive design.

 The image shows the DMUK website on desktop and repsonive designs

This is an image of the Disabled Motoring UK website that we designed and built, being viewed on both a desktop and mobile device. As you can see, the navigation has scaled down to a ‘menu’ which will open when clicked on within the narrow screen, and some content such as the members login has been omitted.

Some pros of responsive websites:

  • Responsive design simplifies the website navigation leading to an improved user experience, which is paramount when trying to secure support from the website visitor.
  • No increase in website administration as you’d only be updating one Content Management System.
  • You will only have one set of statistics to analyse.
  • Your website will only have one URL, which is great for SEO.
  • It is relatively inexpensive and fairly swift to implement.

Some cons of responsive websites:

  • They are often not as fast as dedicated mobile websites.
  • They are based on exactly the same content as the desktop website, so content can’t be rewritten for a mobile audience.
  • You will have to make some compromises with regards to design and content.

Conclusion

If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s the continuing development of new technology, which means that smartphones will become even more affordable to a wider proportion of the market, which will bring with it a further rise in mobile website usage.

A mobile user that can’t find the content they are looking for simply and concisely is likely to leave the website along with their donation. Charities can’t afford to lose users and potential supporters by failing to offer a decent mobile website experience, so it makes sense to get on board with this growing trend as early as possible.

If you have any questions regarding responsive design do feel free to drop us an email at hello@adeptdigital.biz or give us a call on 01263 734198.