Responsive HTML design, why is it important to me?

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

Hey folks, I’ve recently designed and deployed a few websites while tackling the concept of Responsive Web design. First let me define in laymen’s terms what Responsive Web Design is. Responsive Web Design is the ability for a web site to be displayed in a user friendly way on all devices that it is displayed on.

Nowadays there are more and more people viewing websites on smart phones and tablets. There are other displays such as advertising displays as you walk through a Casino or a Mall that may already know more about you than you know. I won’t go into those scary details here but keep that in mind!

Why should you consider Responsive Design? Because it is good practice, search engines rely on the usability of a site more than ever now but more importantly it is important to start thinking about your users experience. Your site should be functional no matter where your traffic is coming from, and you might be surprised how many people are visiting you from a tablet or smartphone these days!

Early on some sites used to serve code or HTML based on the requesting browser, sites are smart enough to determine if a smartphone or pc was requesting a page and they would serve the appropriate content (ie. http://mysite.com/pc vs. http://mysite.com/smartphone). The problem with this is that search engines are smarter than ever and if you want to give your users the same experience whether they are coming in from a PC or a smartphone, search engines view that as separate content that is duplicated! For example, if you go to http://mysite.com search engines should view that as 1 piece of content whether or not it gets redirected to http://mysite.com/pc or http://mystie.com/smartphone. The problem being, if both of those URL’s have the same description tag for example, the search engines will flag it as duplicate content (ie. 2 separate pages with the same content simply displayed differently). No matter what browser client a user comes in on you really want them to land on the same URL to avoid content duplication. The other side of this story is that no matter what browser client a user comes in on the user should have the same or similar experience which means crisp and clear content, the same content.

 

Please forward any questions and I will clarify the points of this article.

Thanks,
Brendan

 

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