Thanks to the popularity of smartphones and handheld devices, the internet is nowadays no longer accessed via desktop computers much. Today, almost everyone owns a smartphone or tablet and likes to go through the daily news headlines, shop or view a site on their handheld devices anywhere and anytime. No longer do they have to wait for reaching home or office to access a computer and internet. This increasing preference for mobile internet has made responsive web design much important.
What is Responsive website design?
Responsive web design and development is a technique that creates a website or system that adjusts itself to the screen of the user. With a responsive design, the browsing experience of a user gets optimized, thanks to the flexible and responsive web page that gets created.
It is a front end development technique, in which the content and the layout respond to the size of the screen that it is viewed on. In order to find out how this works, try resizing your browser. Once you do this, you will find a number of things happening, like, the areas will be shrinking, the fonts will become smaller in size, and the layout will be changing, etc., in order to fit in the content to your present screen size.
Problem with responsive design: Images
Responsive design is a great idea! By, now we all know this. However, what many of us do not know is that this technique has a problem, which is, image serving. When a handheld device shrinks the images in a browser it misuses a lot of bandwidth as well as CPU. However, you need not worry too much because PHP is there for your rescue. The programming language can be used for server adaptive images and implementation of responsive server side or RSS. To know more click here.
As mentioned above, viewing a desktop-sized image on a mobile screen is only a waste of bandwidth and CPU. To top it, if the user is using a subpar internet connection, the experience of site browsing worsens. Why? All these contribute to making the site slow-loading, thus, irking your potential consumers.
Following is a wiser approach for serving images in a responsive site:
• Re-routing image requests to a PHP file.
• Allowing the PHP file to decide if the original image will fit the user’s screen size.
• If it is alright, the request proceeds as usual. However, if it is not, then the image is resized, served and stored by PHP for future requests.
Simple procedure, isn’t it? Yes and no as well. Yes because the process is indeed short, and no because it involves some coding that cannot be messed up; otherwise, it can harm more than helping a responsive site.
Adaptive images features
• No mark-up alterations
• Work on existing website
• Device agnostic
• Up and running within a few minutes
Benefits of responsive design
Now that we are done with knowing how PHP can help you get that perfectly useful responsive website design, let’s have a look at how can the latter help a business.
• Take your business to the mobile and tablet audience
The sale of tablets has crossed 100 million last year; meaning now is the time for responsive design for optimizing content. If your business does not have a responsive site, it is surely missing out a huge chunk of consumers using mobile for net surfing.
• Boost sales and conversion rates
Responsive design is a great way to improve user experience, as there is no need for redirection. Providing a consistent user experience will have a positive effect on your conversion rates because people are familiar with site and navigation across devices. With a responsive design you can avoid certain issues such as- performance, functionality and lack of consistent look.
• Consolidate your reporting and analytics
Having a responsive site frees your head from tasks like tracking user journeys, redirections, funnels and conversion paths between different websites. Website analytics tools like Google analytics is now optimized for handling different devices and responsive reporting. All the tracking and analytics can continue to function in a condensed manner, producing only one report, thus, allowing easier analysis and monitoring.
• Promote your visibility in search engines
Responsive design helps you to manage a single site with a single set of hypertext links; thus, reducing the time that you have to spend on maintaining the website. This way you get extra time which can be utilized for SEO purposes.
Content is very important in Search Engine Optimization. If you publish quality content on regular intervals, it helps boost your search rankings. So, now that you do not have to invest much time in the upkeep of your sites, you can easily use that it for producing quality content, which can boost your SEO campaign.
• Save time and cost on mobile development
One of the greatest benefits of responsive design is that it saves much time and cost, which would have been spent creating a separate mobile site. Performing tests across multiple sites also increase the development, maintenance and support overhead.
• Enhance the offline browsing experience of users
With a responsive design, quality content can be delivered to audiences across different devices. The offline browsing capacity of HTML 5 allows sites to be accessed easily while users are ‘on the go’. Content which is there in hybrid web apps can increasingly be consumed even when internet connection is unavailable.
• Site maintenance time and cost saving
Managing and maintaining a single site is a much less of a hassle as you have less content to monitor. Besides, a single site can also be easily optimized with the use of workflow and layout tools for managing the right content, or site templates which are used for different devices.
As the demand of media rich apps and mobile internet is on the rise, you can stay ahead of your competitors with a responsive web design. However, make sure that you use PHP to make the images responsive as well.
Author bio: Douglas Ralston is Entrepreneur and Technology Professional in the Web Mobile and Application Marketplace. Writing helpful blogs on responsive and mobile websites is his hobby.