Technology has improved astoundingly and today we live in a world where every family, every member owns a Smartphone or tablet along with their personal computer or notebook. Every device has a different operating system and supporting browser, therefore it accesses a website differently. With the increasing number of people accessing the web with different devices including tablets, Smartphone and notebook computers, the need for a website meeting the requirements of all these formats cannot be ignored. It goes without saying that developing a separating website for each of the formats can be very expensive and time consuming. A different approach is required to deal with this problem.
Some latest and awesome responsive web design inspirations available too.
In an earnings call on January 22, 2013, the Google CEO Larry Page said
“We don’t necessarily want [our advertisers] to have mobile sites… I find I get frustrated on my phone when I hit these mobile sites… I just find it confusing… As an industry, we need to improve these experiences… I’d almost say that we shouldn’t be designing for mobile. The kind of mobile phones we have now, the state of the art, are a little bit beyond, and those experiences [i.e., full websites] should work on those devices as well. I’d like to see us move in that direction.”
Mr. Page made a strong point with mobile websites. The vision is shared by millions of web developers around the world and the numbers are increasing significantly. A different method is required to deal with the problem of using a website across multiple platforms. So what is the new big thing?
Responsive Web Design:
Responsive web design is an approach that suggests website should respond according to the user environment e.g. namely screen width, input type etcetera. A website behaves differently depending on the browser, operating system and the device running it. Responsive design uses CSS media queries to optimize the layouts and images to suit the resolution of the device browsing the site. The website should be able to respond to the changing environment. A good example of this phenomenon is the gravity effect on the iPhone. When the user switches the view of the phone from Landscape to Portrait, the screen dimensions change. This changes the way the website will be viewed by the user. A responsive website should change the layout to accommodate the new screen changes, hence “Responding” to the environment.
- Time & Money: Nearly every client today wants a mobile counterpart for his website. Now that being said, either the developer can create a mobile website, costing a lot more money and time or spend a little time making the website responsive. Sure creating a responsive website is more costly than making a simple one.
- User Friendliness: As mentioned by Mr. Page, mobile websites end up with different formats than the “desktop versions”. This causes confusion at the users end. A responsive website will bring about uniformity in display on every device. The end users can easily consume the content on the device of their preference.
- End of the PC era: The time when designers had only to optimize the website for best view on different browsers on the pc is gone. Given the statistics of last year’s sales of tablets and smart phones, the handheld industry is all set to cross pc in terms of unit sales. The tablet NPD’s Display Search is project tablet sales at 240 million units compared to 203 million units of notebook. The increase in the investment in tablets is driving down the average selling price per tablet. With the changing scenario, the number of traffic from handheld devices is increasing significantly and they need to be served with care. Responsive design offers the best solution to satisfying the varying number of devices that access the web.
- Maintenance: In case of separate versions of website for the pc and mobile, both will need separate time for maintenance. Responsive website design can cut development cost by reducing the maintenance for the website and save the client a good deal of money. So in the long run, an investment in a responsive website is the best decision.