Responsive Web Design: What is it and why should I care?
Intelligent, Intuitive Mobile Surfing
Responsive web design is a way of making a single website that works effectively on both desktop browsers and the myriad of mobile devices on the market. Responsive architecture gives the best quality browsing experience – whether on a smartphone, tablet, netbook or e-reader, and regardless of the operating system.
People who browse while on-the-go have very different needs than those sitting at a desk. Responsive web sites re-organize themselves automatically according to the device viewing them, so that the same website provides a great experience everywhere. Desktops get a full-blown interface with videos, large images and animations. Smartphones get a simplified website that runs fast without the bells and whistles. Tablets and netbooks get something in between.
Delivering an App-Like Experience.
Mobile environments require simpler navigation, focused content and fast page loads. If a website has a responsive design, the user does not have to manipulate the site using “pinch and zoom,” and the flow of content is more appropriate for a smaller screen. The site may reduce the amount of content presented to the mobile visitor, so it has less clutter and is easier to use.
Think of responsive design as toolkit for web designers that enables them to offer a more app-like experience in their clients’ websites when viewed on a mobile or tablet device, all without having to build an app version.
Responsive design is a forward-thinking technology, as it makes sites that will work on next year’s devices. One of the major challenges in providing excellent websites for the mobile user is the vast number of devices emerging in the market place. At the international Consumer Electronics Show “CES 2012” more than 40 new Andriod based mobile devices were released and this doesn’t include any devices running on other platforms like iOS, or windows mobile. It’s no longer possible to test your website on every one of these new devices.
Responsive design works by grouping similar devices by screen size together to establish the target size “break points” your site is designed for. So you’re not designing the “iPhone” version of a site; you’re designing the version intended for all smartphones. The website is flexible and respond to the exact size of the screen viewing it. When a new device comes out that’s a little larger or smaller than your target, it’s going to work well on it too.