Andrew is late for work and orders a cab. Being halfway to the office, he remembers that he did not make an appointment to see the dentist. “Nothing”, – thinks Andrew, – “now I will go to the clinic website from my smartphone”. Andrew takes out his cell phone from his pocket, enters the address of the clinic in his browser and frowning of his eyebrows: “What a small font! How inconvenient everything is here!”. Fingers do not get on the small buttons, the form of record to the doctor “floats away”.
The cab driver came to the office, but Andrew didn’t manage to make an appointment to see a doctor. So the clinic lost a client because another company has an adaptive site and Andrew had enough minutes to make an appointment before the morning meeting.
Just 10 years ago, people were browsing the sites only from computers and laptops. Evolution does not stand still – in 2013 everything has changed dramatically: the total number of web browsing from smartphones and tablets exceeded the number of visits to sites from PCs and laptops. Steve Jobs contributed to this in many ways, giving the world the iPhone and gesture control technology “multitouch” in 2008.
In addition to smartphones and tablet computers, some TVs, players, e-books have learned to access the Internet. All of them had screens with different resolutions and diagonals. As a result, the level of comfort while browsing web pages began to depend on the characteristics of the display. The fixed, inflexible design of web pages caused inconveniences when browsing from a mobile device:
- The font becomes so small that it is impossible to read it;
- Forced horizontal scrolling of the page irritates the user;
- The request form with thin margins and buttons is hard to fill from the touch keyboard;
- The photo gallery cannot be flipped through with a familiar iPhone and iPad pile;
- Tables, charts, fields, and other elements are “floating”, not in their places.
These and other problems are solved by adaptive or “responsive” design. American web designer Ethan Marcot introduced this concept in May 2010, publishing an article of the same name in A List Apart magazine. A site with an adaptive design displays content on the screen so that it is easy to find and interact with information.
With an adaptive design, the page structure becomes mobile, images and fonts adjust to the screen resolution. Thus, no matter what device the visitor is viewing the site from, he will do it with comfort. In this case, mockup is a great tool to check templates of your design. Just try it with this free envelope mockup. Adaptivity increases conversion and enhances customer loyalty: they always know they can order a product or service in a cab, subway, bus, while at work or walking, not including a PC.
The mobile version of the site is a partially adapted solution. It is “sharpened” for small resolutions, for example, 320×480 pixels, but now on the mobile electronics market, there is an army of devices with transition diagonals of screens. Each year the number of gadgets is increasing, their fragmentation is growing. This means that mobile web resources will not solve the problem of comfortable interaction with content on absolutely all devices.