Responsive design is a web trend favored by both website designers and website owners. Its advantage lies in the fact that it allows to make a website that can be viewed on various screen resolutions. This means no development of a separate mobile version and one bunch of content to manage. It's a trend that works. But we know that no technology is a universal cure - responsive design isn't either. It's just an option that can match your particular business strategy. Why would (or wouldn't) you need a responsive website? Let's try to figure out, getting some general things to remember as we go along.
A responsive website is built on technologies that allow it to 'respond' to the device, adapting itself to the screen it is viewed with, its resolution and orientations (portrait and landscape), which must be enabled to instantly switch in a page load. Appropriate placement of content for different screen sizes is a challenge and takes time. Websites that must attract potential clients should be recognizable and look familiar to the user on the multitude of devices - here responsive might work. It looks the same, feels the same on all devices, and that's good for building the online image of a brand. Responsive design isn't cheap and quick to be created. But on the other hand, what is?
Mobile First? Users First!
The motto of responsive design is 'Mobile First' - at first a mobile version is developed, and then it grows various elements that expand it for desktop resolutions. Not every piece of content will look good shrunk to fit a small screen. But whatever your mobile product is, the main rule to hold on to is 'Users First' in fact. The website must be convenient for visitors in terms of structure and content, texts in particular. Thinking of SEO is great, but thinking of users/visitors is above all.
If you need to focus on delivering video content, responsive website just isn't for heavy content. Advertisements aren't usually that flexible as well - and it's generally good for mobile websites to stay away from ads. Mobile visitors like to move around the website having no obstacles.
Make Content Focused
Responsive design may slow down the loading of pages on mobile devices. Very often full websites contain the information that isn't needed to be shown to mobile users. Weak signal adds to this problem. Appropriate scaling of images adds to this problem. Weaker mobile devices add to this problem. As a result we have high traffic and resource consumption. Your website should stay away from low-priority info that only drags the loading time.
Not only do weaker mobile devices load responsive pages slower, there is also a necessity of making navigation simpler with smaller screen sizes, as well as making content more focused and rearranged according to design guidelines. A development company can provide you with necessary design consultations and help you build a product required by your business strategy.
If you already have an attractive desktop website with plenty of visitors - an established foothold of your business - moving to the responsive approach will most probably mean starting development from scratch. This can contravene the web strategy of your business. And it isn't always reasonable to try to repair things that work.
Why would you need a responsive website? That's the question only you can answer, since no one knows about your business better than you. What do you want to give your users? What content do you want to present and how must it be presented? Will it be good for a website that must deliver outstanding user experience for both touchscreen and non-touchscreen devices? Is there a worthy alternative solution? With this brief insight into several peculiarities of responsive design you can try to form a picture of how well it matches your business.