In the web design and development industry the trend called Responsive Web Design (RWD), also known as Mobile Friendly Web Design, is a front-end development approach aimed at allowing web pages to be viewed consistently in desktop computer screens with different resolutions, tablets and mobile devices in response to the size of the screen of the device that you are viewing the website on.
The primary device for surfing the web was in the past composed in the majority of desktop computers, but in the modern era, the number of users connected to the web with mobile devices has increased, more often the only devices used for search in the web on a daily basis is a smartphone or a tablet.
In 2015 the major search engine Google took a serious decision to promote inside the search results pages, all the websites which were updated with the responsive and mobile friendly optimisation. The decision was taken by Google after the request from the mobile users of the search engine to obtain in the mobile results page more mobile friendly websites was increased.
The first notable result of this update is to notice that all the websites not developed mobile-friendly are pushed down in the search engine result pages for a particular query, which as a direct result of losing traffic from the search engine.
The second important consideration is related to the user experience of the website user that visits a website from a tablet or smartphone screen if this is not mobile optimised, the content of the web page displays often unreadable and it’s necessary zooming the page to make clear the content, therefore most of the visitors leave the website.
First, we need to understand what exactly responsive web design and mobile-friendly development mean. The principal behaviour of the responsive design is to create a set of rule to adapt the content according to the size of the screen of the device, this is the general behaviour but there are different ways to achieve this result. The most used technique is to produce a set of CSS3 rules in the CSS code that uses a special conditional statement called “media queries” and according to the size of the screen to resize images and obtain a correct visual result on the screen with a different dimension.
All the websites as a general trend after 2010 are developed by following a grid system structure, implemented with the CSS3 rules. The grid adapt itself according to the viewport of the mobile device, common patterns are used to display content in a 12 columns grid layout in the high-resolution screen such desktop devices. In tablet-sized screen, the number of columns of the grid is reduced often to 8 or 4 columns and lay out the content in a stacked flow of a maximum of 2 columns for smartphone devices another technique is to change the width of the columns according to the screen width.
A common mistake is to think that to optimise a website for mobile devices is only necessary to apply the common patterns of the responsive web design development, but to be honest this is only the first step of the process of optimisation of the websites for mobile devices. The optimisation of the visual of web pages for mobile devices is a fine tuning of this process, and requires study of user experience and developing a solution close to your target and business sector, at least to ensure a good result the responsive implementation represents the foundation of the optimisation process.
In regards to optimisation often the content is not just adapted to a good visual experience but also modified to improve the perception from the visitor and to increase the integration of the user with the business, calls to action are ones of the most important examples of this idea.
Responsive Web Design is the solution preferred by Google and the other big companies, this represents the most used mobile friendly design solution but it is only part of the family of modern development technique that is possible to implement, valid alternatives are the Adaptive Web Design and the M. website, an emerging trend is called RESS.
It’s not possible to discuss Responsive Web Design without mentioning WordPress. WordPress is a state of the art CMS and it is used worldwide by the 30% of the websites from blog to e-commerce, with the ability to add a theme and a plugin the powerful platform is totally compatible with the responsive web design approach of development. WordPress themes since 2010 usually offer this feature bundled with the theme by default.
The default theme of the last stable version of WordPress is called Twenty Sixteen and it is developed Responsively and it is mobile friendly, the theme offers a good standard compliant solution for websites and blogs with no effort to design a responsive theme, it’s also capable of different personalization and settings that give to you the ability to have a unique look and feel.
When a new web design project is in planning stage one of the most crucial decisions to take for the owner of the business website is selecting a WordPress theme from a commercial source or contract a developer for the production of a brand new Bespoke Responsive WordPress Theme optimised for mobile devices.
From a developerâ€™s point of view the tailored solution is the best option to choose, a bespoke theme is optimised for the purpose of the business, in the front-end and back-end area, thanks to the power of the WordPress platform the user interface of a bespoke WordPress theme contains special menu items, bespoke functions and action commands to easily add the custom content in the select area, it easy for the owner of the website to manage the content without any knowledge of web design or programming code.
As professional web designer since 1997 I know the difference between the two solutions very well, using a commercial theme can be a cheap solution but at the same time the theme is not optimised for the purpose of a business website. A WordPress bespoke solution instead represents the best alternative in terms of optimisation and performance.
A tailored responsive website solution presents the following benefit: