Web Design Industry Blog

Blog Rss Feed

Why Flexibility Matters in Web Design

Published on June 15, 2012
Tags: Web Design London

Whether we are talking about the ability to juggle multiple projects at once or the ability to write in different coding languages, there is no doubting that flexibility matters in web design. It has always mattered, but arguably it has never been more important. It used to be that designers could often create a design that was suitable for one size of screen and only a limited range of web browsers – but now all of that is changing, and fast.

One of the big reasons flexibility is so important in web design today is, as suggested above, there are now more devices and web browsers than ever before and they all need to be catered for. What works well on one browser needs to look good on another – and that means that designs need to be flexible, adaptable, and be suitable for multiple formats. More than that, they need to look good on different devices.

We need to take into account the fact that the web devices that are popular today might not be the devices that are still popular next year or even in a few months’ time. Right now, devices such as the iPad and smartphones with larger screens are all the rage, but who knows where things will be in just a couple of years’ time? Things are changing all the time, and that means web designers cannot afford to be too static – we need to be ready to change and adapt as professionals, just as our websites themselves need to adapt.

We also need to consider the different uses of different devices, which can have an impact on the specific design of a website. For example, we know that local search is often very popular with people who use their smartphones to access the internet, as is social media. That means we need to consider how these functions of design will work on a different platform, as well as looking at the usual issues we need to deal with, such as websites that have multiple purposes.

As an example, a business could have a website that is both informative and designed for ecommerce. They could have different sections for clients, the media and general visitors, as well as an integrated blog and social media. This is a different kind of design flexibility; here, it is the very purpose of the website that is flexible, and it needs to be rendered in such a way that the design is consistent and makes sense with the overall brand, but so that it can still be adapted to the individual user.

From this, it’s quite easy to see how the issue of flexibility in web design is about more than just making a website that looks good in Firefox or Chrome look good in Internet Explorer. It goes a lot deeper than that. Of course, we now have disciplines such as responsive web design to consider as well. One of the benefits of this is that it can make it easier when designing sites to fit multiple browsers and devices, but we also need to bear in mind that it might not always be the most appropriate option and so adaptations might still need to be made.

Another issue to consider is HD web design. This is something that is, in a way, creeping up slowly. For quite a long time, we have been able to use graphics with quite low resolutions because most web devices have had a low pixel density. This has allowed designers to achieve good quality images while still taking into account issues such as page load time.

Now though, the pixel density of many device screens is improving. Probably the most striking example of this so far is the iPhone4’s Retina screen, which has an excellent pixel density. This means that the way we approach graphics is having to change, while still taking into account the fact that graphics with higher pixel density tend to take longer to load – and many people don’t have devices such as this, which could mean they have to wait even longer for images to load, again necessitating a greater level of flexibility.

Overall, we can identify several different types of flexibility that are required in web design, all of them important in their own ways. A huge range of opportunity has opened up over the past couple of years, but the continuing need to adapt shows just how important it is that we stay vigilant, ready to make changes where necessary and – perhaps most crucially – always open to new ideas.

By Chelsey Evans

Submit Blog & RSS Feeds 


No comments received yet. Be the first by completing the form below!

Leave a comment


Name *:

Email Address*:

Comment *:

Security Code:*
Reset Security Code


Follow Us: Follow us on Google+ Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn

Disclaimer: The content of this article is provided for information only and do not constitute advice. We are not liable for any actions that you might take as a result of reading this information, and always recommend that you speak to a qualified professional if in doubt.

Reproduction: This article is © Copyright Ampheon. All rights are reserved by the copyright owners. Permission is granted to freely reproduce the article provided that a hyperlink with a do follow is included linking back to this article page.