Options When Building a Custom Website

Building a Custom Website: Understanding Your Options


When you’ve made the commitment to developing a new website, understanding all of your available options is imperative in order to create a site that will support your current and future goals. We’ve broken out a few of the styles of websites provided that you may want to be considering and discussing with your web team.

Defining the Vocabulary

As you’re browsing the web, you’ve most likely noticed that some websites appear differently on different browsers and devices, while others remain constant, forcing you to manipulate them to view them properly. It doesn’t take a developer to know that not all websites are created equal. But, do you know the proper vocab when describing the types of websites your considering? Are you aware of all of your options? Let’s explore the most popular types of sites.

  • Fixed Width Websites:

    Fixed width websites are confined to a set width, meaning that re-sizing the browser or viewing the website on different devices won’t change how the website looks. In an effort to make these sites visible on smaller screens, mobile device manufacturers scale them down to size. This often leaves the site too small to view until the users zooms in and manipulates the screen in order to see the content he or she wants.

  • Fluid Width Websites:

    These sites use percentages, rather than fixed metrics, as their widths. As a result, the scale accordingly as the browser or device size increases or decreases. This will not change how content is laid out on the site, it will simply scale it up or down, increasing usability for your site visitors.

  • Adaptive Websites:

    Adaptive websites are designed and developed with media queries that target specific device resolutions, thus, how the site appears will be dependent on the device resolution the media query identifies. Thus, the site adapts to the specific device detected. These websites may have either set or relative widths.

  • Responsive Websites:

    This has been said to be the most flexible type of website, as not only are they built on fluid grids, they are designed with specific breaks that allows content to both scale and adjust the layout of content differently depending on the size of the browser or the device on which it is opened.

    Responsive websites may also have fixed or fluid aspect ratios, not to be confused with fixed width and fluid width websites. With a fixed aspect ratio, a vertical padding will be applied in order to maintain the same relative dimensions on content. A fluid aspect ratio allows you to gradually decrease height as the width of your content or image is reduced. This allows short, wide images (think panoramic) that are beautifully displayed on large monitors to be scaled to fit mobile devices without coming too small to see.

Choosing the Top Site Design

As with many business decisions, choosing the best type of website for your company is often about balancing your budget with your goals. However, you must also consider your future goals, how your customers are using the web, and how they will evolve in the coming years.

Become familiar with all the options available for design and development and make choices that give your users the best experience and your business the opportunity to grow.

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