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Responsive web - a light post

James Ing
Tuesday 26 June 2012

Is responsive web the way to move forward?

Hi everyone, today's post is just going to be some thinking I've been doing around responsive web.

What is responsive web

To keep it simple, responsive web usually refers to a website that changes appearance and sometimes content when viewed on different devices such as a computer or a mobile phone

Smartphones are the most important device in changing our current design / UI / UX thinking. Before we simply had to decide on a layout (fixed versus liquid) and correct cross browser issues, we are now in a situation where we have multiple browsers and screen sizes.

What does this mean?

We now need to make decisions on how we present content across different devices. Before a mobile version of a website essentially just stripped out everything but a simple nav and the text. This ensured it worked across the majority of devices.

Now seeing a stripped down website on a mobile device leaves you feeling shortchanged. On the other hand, not tailoring your website to mobile devices can lead to awkward viewing window where the browser is trying to cram everything into that little space.

What's the answer?

I don't think there is a clear answer right now. Creating a responsive website isn't too difficult but it can mean adding to design and build times on already tight budgets. It can also mean having to rethink copy and whether or not you decided to edit content to suit different devices.

What approach should you take between the stripped down version and not doing anything at all? I would take the nothing at all approach. The reasons being, with this approach you still give put your websites best foot forward, and inbuilt phone browsers allow to you zoom to a point where viewing content is easy enough.

From all this it's still a very interesting time in the responsive web space, and a great time to be an innovator in this space and lead the competition by bring some responsiveness into your current websites

Responsive web - a light post