Responsive DesignWeb designWeb Development

The Opportunities of Responsive Design

By April 4, 2014 No Comments

We can literally watch as tablets and smartphones become our default choice for connecting to the internet. People have long gotten used to the web as an essential part of their lives, not willing to live another day, even another moment without being constantly connected.

This shift away from desktop to mobile requires web designers to refocus. Not necessarily away from desktop design, but certainly towards mobile design. There are several ways to approach a mobile web presence, such as a separate mobile site, or a mobile app. The most recent and increasingly popular approach is responsive web design.

Responsive design solves such a huge problem for web designers that it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that it throws up problems of its own.

In this article I’d like to discuss both the opportunities and challenges that come with responsive design. I will shed some light on this new way of thinking and help you to make an informed choice for your next project.

Opportunities presented by responsive web design

Responsive web design is all about keeping it simple. The idea is to create one website to fit literally all screen sizes, be it a desktop or laptop screen, tablet or smartphone in landscape or portrait mode. Responsive websites are designed with a flexible grid. They use media queries to determine the screen size for every individual site visit and rescale the content accordingly.

1. Low maintenance

With a responsive design you only need to maintain one website. While the layout changes, the content stays the same across different devices. You can simultaneously update content or fix bugs for all devices.

2. Brand consistency

With one website that works on both desktop and mobile screens, you will find it much easier to keep up a consistent brand identity. No more style guides that need to be communicated between multiple parties, such as different agencies for the desktop and mobile versions of your site.

3. Usability

Responsive web design is highly user friendly. Not only can your visitors better relate to your brand if they recognize your website on mobile, they also know better how to use it. A consistent style and consistent content is important because users don’t expect it to be different just because they use a different device.

4. No redirects

The fact that you only have one website for all devices also means that you have the same page URLs to deliver content to all your users. You don’t need to worry about redirects or incompatibilities between different devices.

5. Load time

Those visitors, who access your website with a stable wifi or cable connection, will have little trouble downloading relatively big chunks of data, such as special animations or big images. Mobile users on the other hand, who use 3G or 4G connections, will be thankful for as little data as possible.