Responsive design has been around for a few years now. People didn’t pay much attention to it until the past 12 months or so. We saw a huge shift in the level of attention paid to the need for responsive websites towards the latter part of 2012.
“Why?”, you ask. In short, there has been a massive shift in the availability of computing devices. Gone are the days of simple desktop computing. The increase in bandwidth availability of the cellular carriers has resulted in the absolute explosion of portable computing. Cell Phones and moreover tablets (iPads, etc) are the future. In fact, tablet sales are expected to reach over 100 million devices in 2013. In turn, PC sales have taken a dip for the first time in 11 years . Wow!
The obvious assumption is that people realize the technological advances that have been made with handheld devices. And have responded in kind by spending their hard earned dollars on more flexible units that now possess the capabilities they need and want. Each of these devices has different physical attributes and associated screen sizes. The obvious solution is to make a website that works equally well on every device (and screen size!). Enter responsive web design.
Have a look at some hard data. It’s US-centric. But the trend will be the same here in Canada. The focus is on the consumption of “News”. But we are seeing similar trends with other types of web properties. In particular those that serve brick & mortar businesses. Also, of note, are eCommerce websites.
You can read the entire article here – if you are so inclined.
If one can get everything they need from an iPad (for example), why spend money on a MacBook Pro?
What is Responsive Design & How Does it Work?
Technical mumbo jumbo aside, responsive design is technique whereby a website changes it’s shape and the elements that are displayed with the contraction or expansion of the screen size of the device accessing the website.
Simple enough. The power of responsive design is very obvious isn’t it?
What about Mobile websites?
I wrote about this back in October of last year. In short, the decision to make your website responsive versus having it appear on mobile devices via an application is yours. At WebFuel, we decided to go with a mobile website (via an application). It was the right decision for our business. Your business may be different. Each strategy has an associated cost / benefit equation. You are best to consult with an expert as to the best route for your business as there are pros and cons to both strategies.
At WebFuel, all of the websites we build are responsive out of the box. There is absolutely no reason why you should build a website that isn’t.