How does your website look on an iPad®, iPhone®, Blackberry®, Kindle®, Android® device or Nintendo Wii™? Do your users need to zoom and pan to access your content? Or do you ease the user experience while complicating yours by, for example, using a mobile plugin such as WPtouch or maintaining a separate mobile site?
No one wants the user to have a clunky experience and no one wants to maintain superfluous plugins or parallel mobile sites. Fortunately, there is now a simple and elegant solution: responsive web design.
Responsive Web design is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation…As the user switches from their laptop to iPad, the website should automatically switch to accommodate for resolution, image size and scripting abilities. In other words, the website should have the technology to automatically respond to the user’s preferences. (From Smashing Magazine)
While reading this post, you are experiencing the benefits of responsive web design. If you are on a desktop computer, shrink your web browser window. Notice that as the browser window narrows, the web site automatically re-renders appropriately. The banner shrinks, the menu bar starts to stack itself, media resizes, the side bar repositions itself below the page, the footers stack, and, if the page has multiple columns, they stack too. If you are on mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet, you are already experiencing the rendering flexibility I have just described. If you are not on a mobile device, switch to one to see what I mean.
To see how well or poorly your website renders on a variety of devices: go to Screenfly, enter your website’s URL, select the icon at the bottom of the page (i.e., Desktop, Tablet, Mobile, Television) and then select a device (e.g. Mobile –> iPhone 3).
There is compelling reason to evolve your organization’s web site to responsive design now. According to Ethan Mercotte, “Mobile browsing is expected to outpace desktop-based access within three to five years. Two of the three dominant video game consoles have web browsers…We’re designing for mice and keyboards, for T9 keypads, for handheld game controllers, for touch interfaces. In short, we’re faced with a greater number of devices, input modes, and browsers than ever before.”
Responsive web design brilliantly manages current and emerging innovations in mobile browsing — elegantly for your users and effortlessly for you.
We at Prism espouse agile app development. We like simple, useful software that is frequently updated. No surprise, then, that we have embraced responsive web design.
If you are interested in responsive design and would like more information, please contact us.