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What is responsive web design?

Future-proof your business with a website design fit for all mobile devices.
By KC Calpo |

The world is going mobile and Filipinos are part of that shift.


Data from website analytics provider StatCounter shows that between 2011 and 2014 worldwide, there was a 25.14% in the use of desktop computers to access the Internet as opposed to a 126.75% rise in the use of mobile devices. In the Philippines during the same period, there was an 18.3% drop in the use of desktops and a 149.93% rise in mobile devices.



It is the best argument for businesses to make their website and content fit for smartphones and tablet screens. That idea has a name: responsive web design.



Good for business

Coined by web designer Ethan Marcotte in 2010, responsive web design makes sure your website can be viewed optimally on any device—be it a desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. “The site does it automatically,” said Jed Cruz, creative director of multimedia solutions provider Pixelkit Inc. The site will turn certain display features on or off depending on the type of device being used to view it. The website's layout and content automatically and seamlessly adapt to whatever device you are using, including screen size and orientation.


Responsive web design benefits not only consumers, but also the businesses that make the effort. Mobile users can browse your website without any hassles, and see exactly what you have to offer. In turn, you would be in a much better position to attract, interact with, and retain your customers.



Cruz recommends responsive web design for businesses that require considerable user input and online interaction, like e-commerce and customer service-oriented websites, as well as content-focused sources like blogs and news sites.


Jedd Timothy Lim, sales and marketing director of startup solutions provider ThinkBIT, said in recent years, there has been an increase in requests from clients for responsive websites.



Getting started  

Both Cruz and Lim agree that responsive web design projects call for more time, planning, and effort. Lim estimates that website development from the ground up will take one to three weeks based on complexity, but adding responsive website features takes another week at most, which can be done during the initial or final development stages.


The same time frame applies to website revamps if most elements will be altered, while minor changes require less than a week. Although responsive websites are not necessarily harder to build, and that the site's design on a mobile device should be considered the same way initial design studies are made before actual development, said Lim.




Cutting costs

And then there is the cost. Lim said the cost of developing a responsive website with average requirements ranges from P15,000 ($318.47) to P35,000 ($743.12). The price can go down if you hire friends or freelancers instead of web design agencies.


If budget is tight, Lim suggests prioritizing features your website needs, then add extras later on. The extra expense is worth it, but you can choose to cut costs with ready-made, mobile-responsive website templates that are widely available in multiple content management systems like WordPress and Drupal.


Responsive web design requires both businesses and designers to collaborate and be equally adaptive to provide a better experience for customers. “The web is still a changing medium,” Cruz said. “We have to know how to evolve with it.”



This article was originally published in the March 2015 issue of Entrepreneur Philippines magazine.


Illustration from Getty Images 

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