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Will a responsive design website look exactly the same on all browsers?

No, the page elements are resized and usually stacked vertically for narrow screens so users can simply scroll down to access all contents. Tables may reformat and present differently. The main menu is typically made available through a drop-down link.

Is responsive design more expensive?

Yes a responsive design website template is far more complex to design and setup than a conventional fixed size design - there is a substantial amount of extra setup and coding involved and that adds up to time - often a lot of time depending on the complexity of the website.

As a rule of thumb it is usually faster and easier to build a responsive website completely from scratch, rather than to try to adapt an existing one where content and functions which may not be compatible have been added over several years and possibly by different contributors or designers. Reverse engineering such sites often takes much longer to achieve than a fresh start.

Should you be considering responsive design for your website?

That will really depend on a number of factors - what type of website, what type of user, how complex, how old is the current website, etc. and on your perception of how important the mobile browser users are likely to be for your website offering. As an example, if a high percentage of your users/customers are in younger age groups, then the likelyhood that they will be using handheld devices will be higher than if your target audience is corporate and the website is aimed at businesses who are more likely to be browsing from desktops.

Some statistics now indicate that over 50% of all browsing is conducted from mobile devices and Google now require that websites are responsive before returning them on searches conducted from handheld devices. Most companies and commercial websites are now designed to be responsive and we strongly recommend updating if your website is not responsive already.

Responsive design is rapidly becoming a must have for customers who would like visitors to their website to have a good experience regardless of what device is being used to browse. So web designers are increasingly being asked to provide 'responsive' designs. With a plethora of devices with web browsing capability available today, featuring a wide variety of screen sizes and resolutions, plus the ability to switch from portrait to landscape mode at a turn of the wrist, the number of different possible screen size combinations are vast. Additionally many users on desktop and laptop computers do not run their browsers maximised, so adding an almost infinite number of screen size possibilities.

Whilst flexible websites are really nothing new they have been somewhat out of favour, in recent years, with most customers opting for fixed width website designs and, while these do have some ability to scale, they are not generally capable of satisfactorily handling today's requirements for small handheld devices. New developments in website design, including the use of flexible grids and other elements, combined with new functionality in the latest versions of CSS and HTML coding standards, are increasingly making responsive design more possible and more capable. That is not to say that the technology is perfect, far from it, and that every element in a website can be dynamically scaled perfectly to fit any screen width and that no side-to-side scrolling will be needed. There are some elements like multi-column tables, complex forms layouts or iframes that may be incompatible with responsive technology.

For anyone interested in more information about responsive design and future proofing of websites, in as far as this is possible in a world of fast moving development, the links below are worth pursuing.

Responsive Web Design - by Ethan Marcotte

This is considered to be the first serious article about the need for and methodology required for responsive design. It explains the requirements and complexities rather well. Click here.

Why Responsive Web Design is Important

"I wonder what sort of device you’re reading this on? A laptop? Maybe you’re at your desk reading the words on a cinema-sized display. Or - perhaps even more likely - you’ve got a smartphone in your hand and you’re thumbing through on your way to another meeting." - Read more of this interesting article at http://www.webstarsltd.com/blog/why-responsive-web-design-is-important

A Key Element in Responsive Websites

Articles about responsive design use terms like Twitter Bootstrap so for anyone who may be wondering, Bootstrap is the most popular HTML, CSS, and JS framework for developing responsive, mobile first projects on the web. The following from http://getbootstrap.com provides an overview:

Responsive across devicesPre-processors

Bootstrap ships with vanilla CSS, but its source code utilizes the two most popular CSS preprocessors, Less and Sass. Quickly get started with precompiled CSS or build on the source.

 

ComponentsOne framework, every device.

Bootstrap easily and efficiently scales your websites and applications with a single code base, from phones to tablets to desktops with CSS media queries.

 

Full of features

With Bootstrap, you get extensive and beautiful documentation for common HTML elements, dozens of custom HTML and CSS components, and awesome jQuery plugins. A 12-column responsive grid, dozens of components, JavaScript plugins, typography, form controls, and even a web-based Customizer to make Bootstrap your own.

Bootstrap is open source. It's hosted, developed, and maintained on GitHub.


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