The Role of Responsive Images in a Responsive Website

Last week, we wrote about the importance of incorporating responsive design in your web development projects. Just as a quick recap, the key point to remember about responsive is just how vital it is to the success of your company.

Think of how often you’re browsing the internet on your smart phone or tablet. Do you really want to wait for images not formatted for mobile devices to download? The problem with downloading these large files becomes exacerbated when the user is on a limited data plan, which is typical for the majority of mobile and tablet devices nowadays. The likelihood of a user exiting a page quickly increases greatly when they are forced to download large images to properly view a website not fitted for phones and tablets. Frustration is not what you, as a company, should be aiming for. Your goal is to keep your audience on your pages for as long as possible, which can lead to more potential clients and returning visitors. So how do you ensure that your audience has an easy and enjoyable experience when visiting your website away from their computers?

For starters, it is important to have a responsive web design. It can not be stressed enough how important responsive design is to the functionality of your site on mobile and tablet devices. Web design and development are constantly changing, and it is imperative to stay in tune with what today’s technology incorporates and how receptive the mass population is to these changes. Responsive design, when implemented correctly, ensures that your images download quickly and properly. You won’t have to worry about a frustrated user who has to deal with the download time or being forced to scroll for what seems like an eternity (we all remember those days) because the images aren’t formatted properly to fit a mobile device. So, how do you get the image to appear just right using responsive design? Well, there really is no right answer and the debate on what the best practices for formatting images are still continues. There have been several breakthroughs in perfecting this art of formatting and we think one of them is especially worth looking at.

Your website’s server cannot detect the resolution of a user’s screen. With JavaScript, you are able to tell the server how to reformat the image to its desired dimensions. Once the page is loaded, JavaScript alters image URLs to use the new dimensions in order to create a crisp and clean display regardless of the device you are viewing the page with. Although this is a good method to use for responsive design, it is not actually responsive in itself. This technique can be used on your current non-responsive web design to make up for the fact that it is, in fact, not responsive. Our web developers have been known to use it frequently when a project does not call for a responsive design.

As you work on your new website, it is good to consistently keep your audience in mind. They are no longer just computer users—they also visit you online with their smart phones and tablets. To make their experience as positive as possible, we recommend you implement responsive design and incorporate image resizing through JavaScript.

Want to learn more about how we handle this issue at WDG? Get in touch to talk to our of our developers about how different scenarios can actually lead to different practices for getting responsive images just right.

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