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Blog: The Coder Corner

Your website and Mobile Devices. It's all About Being Responsive.

So here you have that beautiful website you paid dearly for 5 years ago. Until now it seems that it has done good for you, you got your contact requests, your forms filled and everything you asked for. But lately, things seem to have slowed down.

You take a good look at your site and see nothing wrong with it. Or isn't there?

Take a look at your site again, but this time using a tablet or a cellphone. No use doing it with your old Nokia 8210, those don't count anymore. No, just a regular Android or iPhone will do.

Now go and browse your own site. See something different?

You might notice that everything is tiny. Your images are tiny, the text is hardly readable... That may be only the first problem.

Another issue might be your contact forms, they will probably have been laid out using < table>< /table> tags and some of the fields are pushed off-screen. Rotate your device to a horizontal position and see if those fields come back.

If you are lucky, your site looks, well, different. The menu is gone, replaced by a "hamburger menu" or three horizontal lines, text is not in the same position, but everything is there. Some element might even be missing as they could not be resized or adapted to "device formats".

This latter case is more preferable than the former.

So what is going on?

A website that was coded five years ago will have used the language or HTML available at the time. Nothing was yet really done to accommodate the new display requirements. A good looking site should be looking good on a desktop! That's what we always heard.

Today, if your site is displaying everything on a page (or several pages) and cannot be rearranged, it is called "Fluid".

Fluid design was the rage about four years ago. It was the first response to a growing device market. CMSes like Joomla and Wordpress had to scramble to accommodate the new rules. Most did a good job and revised their display systems or templates. Template companies started to create alternative ways to display a web page.

Resizing images and tables was their first priority. It worked fine.

Then came the multitude of device resolutions. From basic iPhone to Retina displays, the chaos was complete.

There needed to be a "new" way of dealing with those devices. Apple decided that Flash animations were no longer going to run on its devices. Creating a website based on Flash was suddenly a big no-no.

Flashing banners with lots of images, sliders and slideshows became the rule. Today you can hardly come across a template or theme that doesn't have a slideshow of some kind. The sad part is that these slideshows do very poorly on anything else than a desktop.

Sizing them down to the bite sized display of the device makes them tiny and unattractive. Better get rid of them then.

And that is what "Responsive" layouts do. The resize what they can and hide what cannot be resized.

So what do you need to choose now for your website? Fluid/Liquid? Responsive?

All depends on what you want your site to do and what your intended public is today and tomorrow. Is your public getting to you on a desktop or on a device? Depending on the answer you may want to modernize your site. Sometimes it is as easy as updating your them or template, other times, well you may want to rethink your site and invest in a service that can redo your site.

Oh, if you do need advice, Coolcom is here for you to assess your needs. Just ask.

Henk von Pickartz

Written by : Henk von Pickartz

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