There’s a lot of talk recently over the state of eCommerce and how it relates to mobile. What’s less talked about, in many cases, is the design of the website that allows mobile eCommerce. Most of you probably know that the pages of the Internet or as it used to be called, the World Wide Web, are coded in generally two “languages:” HTML and CSS. At a very basic level, HTML controls the layout of a page and CSS controls the styling. There have been 5 major revisions to HTML and 3 to CSS. Before these latest revisions, you would have two options for showing your site on mobile screens: a) build a mobile app or b) let the surfer use the “desktop” version.
The most recent revisions to these languages, aptly called HTML5 and CSS3, made creating multiple sizes and widths of your website incredibly easy. While I won’t go into the details of how it works, the basic idea is that your website’s code can sense the width of the current browser window and react accordingly. Responsively. It will resize pictures inline and can restructure a 4 x 1 grid to a 2 x 2 and then a 1 x 4 as a browser window shrinks in size. This kind of dynamic shifting of content and resizing of a webpage had not easily been attained before, and so it got its own name: “responsive design.”
Now for those of you who have your own website and can control the look and feel of it, you’re probably seeing the advantages to such a way of display. With responsive design, there’s no need for two types of websites: desktop and mobile. You don’t have to worry about your site being too big for someone’s monitor resolution. All of that thinking and worrying and compatibility issues is all taken care of by the back-end code.
So, how does it relate to eCommerce?
To my first point, there’s been a lot of talk about the future of eCommerce and how mobile is taking a larger and larger share every year. With the idea that your focus should be on your products and your business, the upkeep of a desktop version, a mobile version, and even possibly a tablet version can become quite cumbersome. Responsive design allows for a clean base, a single update anytime a change is made rather than three, and the chance for you to redesign your website to appeal to your specific target audience and become a leader in the mobile commerce space.
If you’re contemplating making the jump to responsive design, you will probably need the assistance of a design firm. This is still a relatively new type of website, and though you can find 50 responsive WordPress themes in under a minute, finding one that works for your specific website is not nearly as quick or easy, even if you are on WordPress. However, you’re not alone. Lots of other eCommerce merchants have made the switch as well.
If you want one last example of responsive design, check out our new site; it’s responsive, too.