“Why can’t you just make my existing website responsive?”


The short answer is “yes we can, BUT it will cost you”. The old adage — just because you CAN do something, doesn’t necessarily mean you SHOULD – is very relevant here and a good developer will educate you on this. Let us explain.

First, what does responsive design mean?

The technical definition: Responsive design makes use of flexible images and flexible grid layouts via cascading style sheets (CSS) to respond to the device size (desktop, laptop, or mobile phone). Javascript media queries are used detect a visitor’s screen size and orientation and changes the layout and web content accordingly – i.e. for mobile devices the web content moves toward a one-column layout. Basically the user interface changes but the web content remains the same.

responsive website design Aspire2Health

Click to see how this 2-column layout moves to a 1-column layout as you resize your browser down to a table vertical size or mobile phone.

To clarify, making a website responsive does not necessarily mean fitting the entire website on a user’s screen. It means intelligently arranging the information displayed and making user interface adjustments to the design to simplify a users’ experience. By “simplify” I mean so one can easily scroll up & down their screen to see all content in a 1-column layout vs. “pinch AND zoom AND scroll”. See our Responsive Mobile Friendly Web Design article for screenshots and more clarification on that if this still doesn’t make sense.

The term “responsive web design” or “adaptive design” was coined in May of 2010, making this a fairly new concept in web development, so websites built before this timeframe are, more than likely, not mobile-friendly. Considering that there are currently nearly 2,100 million smartphone users surfing the internet, you can imagine, having a (flexible layout) mobile-friendly website is extremely important, especially since Mobilegeddon caused many sites to lose their ranking on mobile devices.

View our Responsive Websites Portfolio

So, how do you make a website responsive?

Ok, your website hasn’t seen a re-design in 6 years and you don’t want to miss out on all of those mobile users. We come back to the million dollar question (well, maybe not quite that much): “Why do I need a total re-design? Can’t you just make my current website responsive?”

It comes down to a cost analysis really. A good analogy might be that you find a fixer-upper house and you need to weigh the cost of fixing it up or tearing it down and building anew. If it was a house that had good “bones” meaning good foundation, insulation, electrical, and plumbing then it would be more cost-effective to make visual repairs like replacing windows, doors, paint, trim, roof, etc. BUT if it didn’t have good “bones” then it would not be cost-effective to go into the walls and foundation to replace EVERYTHING, instead you should tear down and build anew. To relate this analogy to your website, they are built on code, and if the code does not have good “bones”, of which ALL old sites are, then it is best to build anew.

Basically old websites were not built with Responsive Design in mind and therefore do not have the structure needed for flexible layouts using current CSS coding and media queries. Because of this, we would need to re-build the entire layout of your website – and let’s face it, you will probably be charged about the same or less for a brand new site that is built responsively from the start than for us to convert your old website to be responsive. Why not get the most for your money and get a new site!?

Spend your time and money wisely; a new responsive site will further your brand while giving your users the best experience possible!

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