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Responsive Development

Our commitment to responsive design

Today, most sites get the majority of their traffic from mobile visits. Google’s index and ranking algorithm focuses on the mobile version of a website. This means that creating a mobile-friendly site is essential.

We consider mobile’s importance in our design and development process by making almost all the sites we build responsive. Responsive websites resize and adjust their layout depending on the size of the user’s screen. A single responsive site will work across most desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones. As an example, we built VVMF’s Registry site to be responsive.

Image showing different website layouts for mobile, tablet, and desktop.
The image shows how we built VVMF’s Registry site to adjust its layout depending on the device. Notice how the number of columns goes from 1 on mobile, to 3 on tablet, and 4 on desktop. (There’s also a two column layout between mobile and tablet that’s not shown above.) If you look, you’ll also see that the menu changes from clickable words on the desktop view to an expandable menu on mobile and tablet.

We believe that responsive design is a better and more efficient option than building separate sites for desktop and mobile devices. (Google also recommends responsive design.) The only time we don’t build responsive sites is for unique projects, like sites designed as part of an exhibit with only one size monitor.

Of course, certain pages, like those with detailed graphs and charts, may not translate as well on mobile screens. When this happens, we work with the client to come up with another way to convey the information on mobile.

Creating for mobile

As a part of our design process, we usually create both mobile and desktop mockups for all critical portions of the website. Doing this helps us solve design issues before development begins. Additionally, during testing, we generally check both an Android and iOS device.

Why do we only create mobile and desktop mockups for critical portions of websites? In most cases, creating the mockups for key areas of a website will be sufficient to provide developers with the information they need to understand how other areas of the site should respond as well. Plus, most developers follow standard processes when creating responsive sites. For example, right sidebars that show on desktop will normally display below the main content on mobile. Unless you want your site to deviate from standard responsive patterns, it’s not necessary to mockup up multiple versions of the website. Eliminating layouts that are not needed reduces time spent designing, and trusting developers gives them freedom to do their job more quickly and efficiently. For similar reasons, we often do not mockup tablet view. If developers have mobile and desktop, they can usually understand what tablet should look like as well.

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