New Screen Resolution and Your Town’s Website Design

Today, more than ever –having a website that looks –and works great on screens both big and small is important.

Currently, more than a billion people access the internet primarily from their mobile devices, a number that’s continuing to grow. Add to this the fact that new devices, with varying resolutions are continually being made and you start to see the importance of having a website that’s able to accommodate this varying range of screen sizes.

While a fixed website was once adequate, now a more sophisticated method of web design is becoming the standard, allowing websites to load –and work on any screen size.

We’re talking about responsive web design –something that many web designers today are embracing for its flexibility and ability to appear beautifully on a number of different screens –and resolutions.

Let’s take a look at both static and fluid web design, and discover the benefits that responsive web design offers over fixed.

Here’s an example of a static website as it appears on a mobile.
Here’s an example of a static website as it appears on a mobile.

 

You can use the pinch and zoom feature to navigate the site, but it’s not an optimal browsing experience.
You can use the pinch and zoom feature to navigate the site, but it’s not an optimal browsing experience.

Static Websites

Back in the day, fixed width layout websites were the standard. Many websites were built using the 960 grid system, and this system worked wonderfully. From a design point of view it offered a great deal of flexibility and allowed designers to create websites efficiently, without too many problems. The grid system quickly became popular, and could be used for a wide variety of sites. The problems began to arise, however, when screen sizes started to chance. While the 960 grid system worked great for fixed websites, today’s screen sizes vary from extra-large to smartphone-size. The variety of screen sizes today has given rise to a new system for websites: responsive web design.


Fluid design. This website is able to adjust to fit the screen.

Fluid Design

Another term that you have probably heard a lot of is fluid design. Fluid design, also known as liquid design, is a type of responsive web design in that, it changes size depending on the screen size being used to view it. With this design, most of the components operate on a percentage-based system that adjusts based off of the width of the screen that’s being used to view it.

One of the biggest advantages that responsive web design offers over static design is accessibility. If you’ve ever tried to view a fixed width website on your phone, then you understand. Fixed websites can be cumbersome to view, and awkward to browse. Responsive web design, on the other hand, adapts perfectly to conform to the size of the screen that you’re using, providing a much better browsing experience.

Fluid Vs. Fixed Design: Which One’s Best?

In today’s world where mobile browsing is popular, it’s important to have a website that’s able to accommodate this type of visitor. However, it’s important to reach the desktop browsers too.

Smartphones are extremely popular, but on the other side of the equation, are those who use high resolution monitors. For this type of visitor, a fixed site that’s designed for a mobile-only visitor base would look miniscule when viewed on a screen this size. For this reason, it’s important to opt for a fluid design, one that allows the website to load seamlessly, taking advantage of all of those extra pixels, so that it loads as a full-scale website on the screen. It’s also important to use high resolution photos so that they’ll look their best when scaled to this size as well.

While static design offers slightly more control over the design, since there is a fixed width that you can work with, the downside is that they only appear decent on the screen that they were designed for. On large monitors, you’re often left with small, fixed websites that are surrounded by a huge amount of white space. On small screens, iPhones and tablets, the website will have to be accessed via awkward scrolling, or by pinching and zooming.

Generally speaking, the best solution is one that takes into account all manner of screen sizes. The great thing about responsive design is that it’s able to accommodate not only screen resolutions available today, but also the screens of the future –whatever size they may be. Investing in a responsive design allows you to know that your website will look great now, and in the future as new devices continue to come out.

If you’re in the market for a new website, why not consider a responsive design. Be sure to ask your web designer about responsive web design, and make sure your website is built to last.

For more information on a website for your municipality contact Town Web Design. At Town Web Design, we provide responsive web design for small and medium-sized municipalities. We would be happy to talk websites with you, and answer any questions you have.

Image: Pic Basement

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