Responsive design is a relatively new concept, and very much a buzz word these days – the intention being to allow a site to work on both a normal desktop and to automatically resize and work on smaller devices such as iPads and iPhones.
Touted as the next best thing by many, I’ve not been as confident that it was essential. After all, my reasoning went, many sites designed for a desktop now work very well on mobile phones just as they are!
Turns out that I’m not alone in asking these questions – here’s a great article from the smart people at ManageWP (*) that is a great read and makes 5 thoughtful points …
- Responsive Design is expensive and complex to implement, and takes much longer
- Very useful if the site is unusable or unworkable on a smaller screen – eg Google Maps
- Be careful not to break the conventional usability rules as you may end up making sites harder to use, not easier!
There is no doubt that sites are getting used more on mobile devices (of every type), so their behaviour on mobile devices should be considered (and tested!) from the start, however for many sites specialized mobile design is just not crucial.
Interesting ideas and developments are regularly surfacing in the responsive area – for instance, one trend is for “add on” mobile interfaces that plugin to your site and work automatically – we’ve seen these but haven’t tested them yet.
This is a rapidly evolving area, what are your thoughts? Comments below invited!
(*) ManageWP will be the subject of an upcoming blog article …