2013 is shaping up to be an interesting year in terms of new web developments. One such development is the field of Responsive Web Design (RWD), which began to come to the fore in 2012. But we predict that it will really take hold in 2013.
Why? Because of the multiplicity of devices that people use to access the internet now. The wide variety of different screen sizes and resolutions means that it’s no longer to design a website for a set of specific devices – the variety is just too large.
A more sensible approach is to use RWD, which allows the website to ‘adapt’ to the user’s device. This means that, whether the user is using a desktop web browser, or something as small as an iPhone, they will get a good and usable web experience. Our own website (this one you’re reading) is responsive – try it on a mobile device and see the differences.
To illustrate the difference between standard design and RWD, think about most websites that you currently view. When you view them on a desktop browser, everything is usually big enough to read and click on without having to zoom in. But take that same website and view it on an iPhone or other mobile device. What you generally notice is that the website is just a miniaturised version of the one you saw on the desktop. Text is often uncomfortably small (meaning you have to zoom in to read it), and text links are quite hard to hit accurately. The situation is better on something like an iPad or other tablet, but only just.
A non-responsive website on desktop and iPhone
Responsive Web Design tackles that using Cascading Stylesheets to determine how to style the page based upon your device’s screen size. This means that, amongst other things, navigation becomes a drop-down control, text is proportionally sized for the screen, and images scale nicely with the page.
A responsive website example on desktop and iPhone
The responsive example looks much nicer on the iPhone that the non-responsive example.
We believe that this technology will make using websites on mobile devices much easier, and we will be recommending Responsive websites to all of our clients this year. Please let us know if you’d like to know more or see specific examples in operation.