Responsive web design

It is now commonplace for your customers to be searching for you on smartphones. But what will they see? Will they be squinting at the text, trying to make it out on a tiny screen?

Responsive web design takes such things into account. It reconfigures your site to suit the gadget that it is viewed on.

Many of the sites below are designed this way. Try them on your smartphone. Turn them sideways. Nice, eh?

How do you find a good web designer?

If it looks good, that’s all that counts, right?

Well, no.

And before you say, ‘that’s all that matters to me’, hear me out.

Because there are some things about websites that are different from, say, text on paper.

  • More people — and things — can potentially ‘read’ a web page. Like Google, for instance. But not if it’s badly made.
  • One day you’re going to want to update your site again. If it’s badly coded — well, it’ll be like trying to renovate a badly made house. Expensive.
  • Your site gets interpreted by all sorts of different software and machines, including phones, computers, text-to-speech readers, printers, even braille readers. They can all make sense of a well coded site.
  • People find their way around a website differently from the way they read a printed item. A good website works with the way people expect browsers to work, not against it.

How will your site stand up?

How to assess a web developer

You need to find out what your web developer can do for you. Four areas are particularly important.

  • Can your developer design? Conversely, can your designer understand and code for the web? The web has its own logic and constraints.
  • Can your web company or person code according to web standards? Many people think that web design is just a matter of using a program to lay everything out. It’s not. And it’s certainly not constructing a site in Flash, which ignores your web browser and imposes a navigational system of its own.
  • Do you want to update your own site? Or ask your developer do it?
  • Do you want to be able to buy and sell, or take orders, from your site?

Which of these can I do for you?

I can take care of the first two. I can also set you up with a straightforward, widely used system should you want to do your own updating.

If you need a site that presents data in a structured, repeatable way (products, features, groups, skills, etc) I can provide this for you so that when you come to add new items you just follow the flow of an online form. To see examples of this, take a look at Rosa Mira Books or the BRG Blue Mountains sites.

To add a book to the Rosa Mira site, you enter the title, upload a cover image, then fill in the fields for author, précis, description, reviews and price, click the Publish button and the page assembles itself, complete with a purchase button.

On the BRG Blue Mountains site, a business owner can enter their name, upload a photo, add the name of their business, a summary, a full description of what they do, phone numbers, email address, address and any testimonials. Each of these is a separate field, ensuring that they know what to enter. And then their page assembles itself when they press the Publish button.

Nice, eh?

Importantly, because I build to standards, you will never be stranded. If I’m knocked down by a bus, for example, or go to work for the United Nations (neither of which is, as far as I know, likely), another professional web developer can pick up where I left off.