The simple web test you need to do now

Posted on Feb 10, 2014 in The Fix, Web

Watching web trends over the last decade, I am still amazed at how quickly the landscape changes. Flash used to be the hallmark of a site with “high design.” (Now most web developers won’t touch Flash with a 10-foot pole.)

Tailoring sites to the most common screen resolution used to be a concern. Like a lot of designers, I gained more freedom as home computer screens grew bigger and bigger—I had more real estate to create a big, dramatic web site. And I designed sites with this “big view” in mind.

And then tablets and smart phones came along.

Now the trend has reversed. People may still have enormous flat-screen monitors at home, but currently 70% are pulling up websites on mobile devices. What a change.

Creating a separate mobile site (with a similar look and pared down content from your main site) is one way to satisfy mobile users. But the predominant trend now is creating a single, responsive site that looks great no matter what size screen you use.

So here’s your simple web test. Pull up your web site on a large monitor. Then grab the corner of your browser window and start shrinking.

If the elements on your web page (the navigation bar, the photos, the text blocks) dynamically adjust by shuffling and restacking to fully display in the smaller frame, then congratulations. Your site is responsive, and all is good.

If you shrink your browser window and more and more content gets cropped out of view, then you have a problem.

The Fix

Non-responsive sites create a frustrating experience for anyone trying to get information on a hand-held device.  Make this a high priority and migrate to a responsive design ASAP.