As of 2013, an estimated 40% of the population worldwide access internet via mobile phones and other handheld devices. The sale of PCs has been on a decline and will continue to dip lower every year. The sale of iPads, smart phones and tablet PC's are on the up. Internet browsing is no longer restricted to a desktop, laptop and a computer screen. This fundamental shift requires a change from conventional web design techniques.
Responsive web design is a recent breakthrough in web development and design. It allows for a single version of the website to be adaptable across all platforms. It uses techniques of flexible grids and layouts, images and intelligent use of CSS media queries. Hence when the user switches from their laptop to iPad, the website automatically switches to accommodate for resolution, image size and scripting abilities.
If you are a business owner who operates through a website, you have a lot to think about. Your customers and prospects are no longer visiting your websites from their PCs and laptops. More and more traffic is coming from a variety of hand held devices. This means the website has to be seamlessly accessible across smart phones, tablets and just about any internet device.
Businesses have been developing separate versions of their websites for mobile and tablets. It is common to see business owners say that they want a Blackberry version, an iPad and iPhone version, a Kindle version and such. This is due to the fact that screen resolutions vary across different devices. A website is not naturally adaptable to these varying screen sizes, unless it is a responsive website. If you modify your existing website to be a responsive website it is automatically catered for every device and every screen size.
The internet has been around for a while, but the cascading shift from conventional browsing on the laptop/PC to browsing on smart phones and tablets is a little new. As with anything to do with tech, if we don't keep up, we become obsolete.