Just as technology and the way we use it has evolved, website design has evolved somewhat rapidly alongside it. We’ve seen the introduction of new terminology such as ‘fixed, liquid, adaptive and responsive.’ The list goes on. But, what does it all mean? For now, let’s focus on the three main structures: fixed, adaptive and responsive.
The difference between fixed, adaptive and responsive
For some time, there was a lot of confusion over the various terminology and how they differ. Here’s how I see it:
- Fixed: this is your average website with a fixed width that looks the same on all devices and does not respond in any way, shape or form – simple.
- Adaptive: will snap into different layouts as you reach certain ‘breakpoints’ – perfect if you need to target specific device sizes.
- Responsive: a website with a responsive structure will shrink and change form as you re-size your browser and will adapt on any device: desktop computers, mobile devices and tablet devices – a fit for all.
See for yourself… here’s a great website that demonstrates live examples of the various website structures that I’ve mentioned above, so you can see for yourself how they all differ when you-resize the browser window. The benefits of responsive websites are include…
Improve User Experience
Customers feel withdrawn if they go onto their favourite website on their smartphone or tablet and are only offered a desktop solution, meaning they are forced to spend time scrolling up, down, left and right to find what they are looking for. And of course having to repeat this tedious process on each page they land on… how frustrating!
Before responsive website design was introduced, one website would have multiple versions built to suit each individual device. Therefore we would have more than one ‘About Us’ pages to write content for… no thank you! A responsive website is just one website with one set of pages to write content for and update – this is much better. A responsive website will be equally as cost effective as your current fixed website. All the more reason to go responsive.
Future Proof Your Solution
I found myself in a situation not so long ago – I wanted to venture out for the day but I wasn’t sure where to go or what to do. So with my smartphone at the ready I did a quick search for ideas – the first website I stumbled upon was built for a desktop – I explored for a few minutes before getting aggravated and giving up. I did a little more searching before finding a website that looked flawless on my smartphone – I found the information that I needed within minutes and then ventured off on my adventure.
You could be missing out on valuable opportunities to engage with your customers if you aren’t providing them with a positive experience on your website. Ultimately, users will choose practicality of the website first and foremost. You may have great content, but it’s of no interest to customers if they can’t reach it easily.