WordPress: Mobile, and Responsive DesignTuesday, March 19th, 2013
UNDERSTANDING YOUR MOBILE OPTIONS
It’s no news that more and more consumers are accessing the web from their mobile devices. So how websites appear in mobile browsers has to be taken seriously. Particularly if we want our visitors to have the best experience possible.
As website designers, we know there are new devices with new screen resolutions arriving every day and we certainly intend to support that reality. This post aims to provide useful information for the small to medium sized business owner.
WordPress and Mobile
For many business owners it may seem like the latest in an endless procession of new technology headaches. If you’re with us, your site is more than likely built with WordPress. Not only are you visible to all browsers & devices, but you have time to evaluate mobile options. There is certainly NO NEED to develop new mobile websites with new content, separate URLs, new code and an entirely new set of competitive SEO challenges.
Regardless of the browser it’s viewed in, your website is visible to mobile phones and tablets. Recent studies by Pew Internet Research suggest many people have difficulty reading detailed web pages on small screens so, to tailor a website for smaller devices, we offer an incredibly cost effective mobile option.
With this solution, the site will detect what kind of browser [mobile or desktop] a visitor is using and adapt the screen accordingly. In effect, a different view designed specifically for smaller screens is shown when the visitor’s device uses a mobile browser. In this scenario, the design can also offer visitors the choice to switch back to the original website for folks on larger mobile devices, like tablets that might appreciate a website’s entire navigation. In this scenario both website owner and visitor are served.
Although the term “adaptive design” covers a broader idea, underneath this concept is a website layout known as “responsive design”. A responsive design refers to a site that automatically conforms itself regardless of browser and to any screen resolution. Technically, responsive design uses a CSS media query to figure out what resolution a visiting device has and, using flexible images and grids, sizes itself to fit that screen. The advance is not only a small device version of a site, but a site that adapts equally well to any device or screen resolution. One website for all devices, if you will.
While we both endorse and offer responsive design websites, we are seeing so much hype around a supposed immediate need that this post aims to lend caution. Responsive design is relatively new, it’s a project that requires understanding, sound decision making and also respect for what may have already been established (in terms of a marketing presence online over the years.) Informed decisions about change are always in order. For instance, how will content navigation look to a visitor in various screen resolutions? What will come of 3rd party software integration? Has traffic analytics been reviewed to see what percentage of traffic is actually arriving via mobile browser.
And that’s a start, but never ever a reaction. The bottom line is, regardless of what pressure stems from emerging change and even some bias, you have time to evaluate and excellent options too! We’d love to answer any questions, so please do not hesitate to get in touch.