People rely more and more on mobile devices to access the internet. For many it is the primary access point to the Internet. Last May, All Things D reported that mobile traffic accounted for 20% of all US web traffic, an increase of 139% from the year before. This year, making your website compatible with the increasing number of smartphones and tablets will be crucial.

What is a Responsive Design and how does it work?

Each day, the number of devices, platforms, and browsers that need to work with your site grows. The shift to responsive website design represents a change in how we build websites and how users experience your site on the web. What responsive design achieves is a one size fits all framework for your website that will save you time and money as the mobile market grows.

Last year we wrote an article about mobile websites vs responsive design and how responsive website design is a better choice for most websites.

Rather than creating a separate mobile website, multiple platforms for new devices, or an app – responsive design will do all the work for you. Responsive sites are composed of elements that size, shape, and place themselves based on the width of the browser screen. Elements determine the screen size using CSS media queries.  Basically this means that instead of being something static, the site predetermines how the user is viewing the page and arranges itself accordingly.

Here’s a great example of a responsive site we recently developed for our friends at the Waybury Inn, who also happen to be our original website client having signed on with us in 2000.

Desktop Viewwoodburyinndesktop Tablet Viewwoodburyinntablet Mobile Viewwoodburyinnsmartphone


You can see through these screen grabs how the site rearranges itself, but still maintains the great flow of the full site; drawing the viewers attention to important calls to action no matter which device they are using to view the site.  The calls to action: “Make a Reservation”, the phone number, and Special Offers” get larger as the screen size gets smaller.

Google SEO + Responsive Design: The New Industry Standard

Responsive design can also help increase search engine rankings for your website. Search engines are now tracking how websites work across desktop and mobile platforms and using those results to determine rankings. If a user visits your site on a mobile device or tablet and immediately leaves because of poor quality, search engines take note. Search engines like Google are responsible for delivering the most accurate results for their users, and now that includes usability. Kristina Kledzik of SEOMoz says “If you have a mobile site that has less content or looks significantly different than your regular site, you’ll frustrate return visitors who are looking for something they found on the desktop version. ….With a responsive web design, visitors will get all the content they want, in a format they can read.” (read full article here)

At the end of the day it is about creating a user experience that keeps both people and search engines happy, and makes it easy for you to promote your business.

What’s Next?

Union Street Media now incorporates responsive design into all the new websites we develop. Our clients who adopted this approach early have seen more conversions off of the web.  If you have any questions about responsive sites and how best to implement one, please feel free to contact me.