Desktop computers aren’t the only thing with a web browser anymore. The goal of responsive design is to craft websites that promote simple navigation and readability over a wide range of devices. The rise in popularity of the iPhone and iPad along with thousands of other smart phones and tablets has caused web designers to place more emphasis on the mobile web experience. As the portion of web traffic coming from mobile devices increases, users now expect to be able to browse on their phone or tablet just as easily as on a desktop. Google’s developers recommend that sites be responsive as it will increase the duration that users spend on the site and improve SEO. Going forward, any successful modern website must be built with this in mind.

Responsive web design isn’t a new technology or fancy plugin, it’s an idea. That being said, there are many different themes and plugins for platforms like Magento and WordPress that will allow you to have a responsive site with relative ease, but the only way to get things right is to thoroughly test it. User experience is very important, especially with e-commerce websites where a broken theme could be giving you huge losses. With modern browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox, a wide range of mobile devices can be emulated with ease. With just a few clicks we can see what a website will look like on virtually every phone or tablet. Combined with analytical data, we can pinpoint exactly where your users are running into trouble and what device they are using.

To get started with responsive design, you will need to find a theme that works for you. Selecting a theme is a science unto its own, but you will definitely need to make sure that whatever you go with is responsive. After you settle on a theme, before going further try to use the in-browser emulation to see what your websites content will look like. In Chrome, right-click on your page and select “Inspect element”. On the top right of the inspector, click on the “Show drawer” icon. Go to the “Emulation” tab and select the device you wish to emulate. Make sure everything is to your liking before committing to any theme.