As most web developers will confirm, for many years one of the major challenges inherent in creating a good quality website was ensuring that it maintained its appearance on different desktop computer browsers.
Over the last few years, however, this problem has compounded because now it is not just different browsers that developers have to contend with, but different browsing devices. People are increasingly surfing the web using smartphones and tablets - and as time goes by they are also adopting other gadgets such as wearable devices like smartphones. The problem doesn't stop there considering the highly competitive market of mobile devices as one also needs to consider the different operating system platforms and different versions available on the market; a phenomenon known as mobile device fragmentation.
Clearly this is having a major impact on how websites are developed, and a good web development team will take into consideration factors such as Click versus Touch, Screen-size, Pixel-resolution, support for Adobe Flash, and other optimisations that have become crucial to ensure a truly responsive website.
At the end of the day that is what responsive web design is all about - it involves planning, designing and coding a website in such a way as to ensure that the user has an optimal viewing experience across a wide range of devices, including PCs with different browsers, smartphones of various shapes and sizes and of course tablets. It is all about ensuring that the user can view the site with a minimum amount of resizing, panning and scrolling, whatever the platform used to browse the site.
In essence this means that companies no longer need to invest extra time and money to create and maintain different sites targeting desktops and mobile. Technology has moved on and a good developer can create a site that simply adapts to the device, with the website's navigation elements, screen-layouts, text, images, audio/video players and other UI elements re-adjusting automatically according to the device used to access the site.
Clearly developing a responsive website is a painstaking exercise that is more time consuming and costly than simply developing a site for desktop browsers. There is a lot more work and planning involved in getting it right. However the reality is that people are rapidly migrating from browsing the Internet on a PC to browsing it on smartphones and tablets, and if your site does not work on these smart devices then your company will lose clients and business. Responsive web design is ultimately about guaranteeing an optimal user experience irrespective of whether they use a desktop computer, a smartphone, a tablet or a smart-TV.
It is ultimately much cheaper to invest in a responsive website than it is to go piecemeal and develop separate website for each device. This makes life simpler for the web master or whoever is updating the website on a daily basis as only one website would need to be updated. It is also a much better investment, since a responsive site guarantees that your client will be able to find information about you and your products even when browsing on their phone.
Let's face it Internet traffic originating from mobile devices is rising exponentially. As more and more people get used to browsing the web through their smartphones and tablets, it is foolish for a company to ignore responsive web design. The "One Site Fits All Devices" approach is rapidly becoming the norm, as opposed to an innovation adopted only by the few.
Responsive web design is rapidly gaining traction in Malta, with forward-looking organisations investing in the best User Experience possible for their clients. Examples of such websites include the newly launched Independent website (www.independent.com.mt), the brand new Vodafone website (www.vodafone.com.mt) and also the website launched this summer by FCM Bank (www.fcmbank.com.mt).
Now more than ever, digital content is meant to be viewed on a spectrum of different devices. Responsive web design is without doubt the way forward.
Ludwig Micallef is the General Manager of Alert eBusiness, specialists in web development and eMarketing - www.alert.com.mt Member of the Alert Group - www.alertgroup.com.mt
Tankship Management Ltd. provides a complete and comprehensive set of ship management services to ship owners. These services include 3rd Party ship Management, Regulatory Compliance Consultancy, Dockings and Emergency Repairs Preparation, Supervision and Completion; and Crew Sourcing and Management.
The company has invested in a new website full of information about its different services, including surveying and inspection services and European Maritime Safety Agency 'At-Sea' oil recovery resources to assist requesting states to respond to large scale incidents involving the possibility off or actual oil spills.
The site is powered by the Alert Web Publisher, an advanced content management system that enables the editor to update the site in a simple and intuitive manner.
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