There are more people browsing and using their mobile phones and tablets as their sole browsing device than ever before. In fact, according to Pew Research, over 56% of people in the US are using their phones for browsing regularly – needless to say a lot.
Of course, the rise of mobile browsing has meant a significant increase in photographers looking for mobile optimised sites, simply as they provide them with the best presentation of their work.
As you may already know, not all mobile devices are created equal; and there are all sorts of arrays of screen resolutions and screen sizes that websites need to be compatible with.
Designing for Multiple Screen Sizes
The sheer number of resolutions and screen dimensions means that designers simply can’t keep up with designing for each individual device: it’s too costly, too time-consuming and simply not practical. For photographers, this means that some images are optimized for some devices, but not for others.
If you want to create the best possible start you need to ensure your work is showcased in the right manner. You wouldn’t present a portfolio of work with pages missing, images too small to see, or worse again, have no portfolio at all – as is the case if your design doesn’t work on a device. Photography is one of the most visually orientated lines of work there is and if you aren’t presenting your work in an attractive and functional manner – you’re in trouble.
This poses the problem of how do you decide on what devices to design for and which ones to ignore?
Responsive Web Design
Responsive web design changes a web layout based on the user’s screen size or resolution. This is achieved through a grid layout that is designed to flex and adapt to the specific display. The result being a website that accommodates all mobile, tablet, laptop and desktop and switches to accommodate for images and video and script.
The result is, you won’t need to create a website for specific screens because a responsive site simply adapts to fit in with all screens. And the best thing? It looks visually wonderful on any device!
Separate Mobile Sites Remove Key Functionality
Some sites offer a separate mobile version from the main website, and typically, remove features or graphics to make it work well on a device. The user is left with a less-than-complete experience and often times is forced to work hard to navigate. Visitors spend most of the time moving your thumb around carefully trying to avoid hitting links with errand thumbs that will take them off the specified page. Responsive web design removes this air of awkwardness and trepidation to mobile browsing.
Responsive Design Adjusts Automatically
Responsive web design automatically adjusts to facilitate and doesn’t require numerous customized versions to use on each screen size. Responsive web design uses web development and design techniques known as fluid layouts, media queries and scripts. These change, adapt and size up and down to fit the device used. However, this is only the beginning of what this design can do.
This results in webpages that are marked up and down where necessary and are flexible for the device at hand. Resulting in what needs to be seen, being seen, and what needs to be touched and pressed and this can be done without the worry of clicking off site, or constantly pinching and zooming. Essentially, this sort of design provides the user with the most apt part of the page for their query. It’s clever.
Responsiveness is More than Sizing
Of course, there is a lot more to this and the mix and meeting point of resizing of images, while also ensuring they keep an air of quality can take plenty of skill.
Aside from images and resizing there are other considerations at hand. To jump to the point; sometimes you don’t need to fit all the information from the big screen onto the small screen – the essentials are what matter.
Responsive design cuts out all the needless stuff and gives people a web version of the site that is easy to navigate, without them having to zoom in and also provides them with what they want to see. It eliminates the noise and makes the whole mobile browsing experience a pleasure.
It gives users what they want and presents it in the best possible way for their specific device. It’s what users want and it’s also what users are getting – and you should think about keeping up.
Today’s Websites are Completely Different
Think back to websites five years ago, and try to remember how clunky they were and how much was unnecessary. The last half decade has brought significant changes to the world of the web.
The last 12 months have seen the use of mobile web spiral; and 2013 is set to see an even larger change in both usage terms and design. Clearly, there is no reason to panic yet about your current website, but it is something that should be at the forefront of your mind when you next give your site a new makeover or significant update. In the longer term, responsive design may be the solution to avoiding an outdated looking site and badly presented imagery.