If you’ve ever used the Internet on a smartphone you’ve probably been to a website that was difficult to navigate or view without zooming in.  After encountering this issue regularly and speaking with countless individuals about mobile websites and applications, I’d like to address the basics of responsive design.

Smartbooks Responsive Design

So what exactly is responsive web design?

Responsive web design is a development method that allows a site to be displayed seamlessly on any device (desktop, tablet, or mobile).  Depending on the device a customer uses to view a website, the site will dynamically change — optimizing itself for easy reading, navigation and media display.

What is the difference between responsive web design and a mobile application?

Responsive web design is a way of building your website that allows it to be accessed by phones and tablets through a browser, whereas a mobile application is separate from your website and must be downloaded natively to a users phone.

Should I use responsive web design or develop a mobile application?

Everyone should use a responsive web design, and depending on your business, you might want to invest in a mobile application as well.

Here are 5 reasons why every business should have a responsive site:

  1. Mobile sites can be indexed by search engines (e.g. Google), driving traffic to the website, while apps are closed environments and cannot be accessed from the web.

  2. Responsive design is comparatively cheaper than developing a mobile application.

  3. Content on a mobile site can be managed from your existing content management system.

  4. Mobile sites will never require the user to make an update on their end.

  5. A single mobile site will work on any mobile device (although you have the option to create unique versions), whereas an application requires separate development for each platform.

However, you might want to consider developing a native mobile application if:

  1. You need to use hardware functionality like the camera or GPS.

  2. Your business is based on monetizing content and generating ongoing purchases.

  3. You require a lot of functionality and complex design features.