The way people access the internet today has changed dramatically in just a few short years and it will, no doubt, continue to change. As with all technological advances, it is a semi-Herculean task to keep up. (The brand new computer you bought today is already old and needs updating by the time you get it home.) However, due to the growing number of devices that are used to view websites, Monterey Bay Design (scorching the road to the finish line somewhere between first and last) now offers Responsive Web Design (RWD) as a method of design.
What Responsive Web Design Isn’t:
A responsively designed site is not a separate version for your smartphone and a separate version for your tablet and the mothership version for your desktop.
What Is Responsive Web Design?
A website built using a responsive design method “responds” to the device being used to view the content. Instead of “pinching” to display hard to read content on your iPhone, the page content automatically moves, realigns, and re-sizes according to the device’s screen size. RWD is an approach to creating a single version of a website that provides the best possible experience for the viewer regardless of the device being used.
RWD is not an extra or bolt-on feature. It means design and construction of the website from the start with multiple devices in mind. Because this is a more complicated and time-consuming process, both in implementation and testing, RWD does add to the overall cost. Because of the abundance of devices, and always-on, anywhere-anytime access to the internet, Responsive Web Design will likely become the standard. It is believed by many today that it should already be the default design standard,
but because it adds significantly to development time, it amplifies costs, and because shifting methodologies and changing technology make adapting a “default” difficult, it makes sense at this point, to continue to offer it solely as an option, and 2 years ago when I wrote this, it sort of made sense to see RWD as optional. Not anymore. It is now part of the procedure when I design to insure a website is perfect on every device.
And while you are free to say “please make my site viewable only on a big desktop, and also make sure people have to magnify a word at a time on their iPhone in order to read it,” you will do that ADA – Against Designer’s Advice. 🙂
However, regardless of whether or not you choose to implement a responsive design for your site, my normal design process always
now includes coding “responsive ready” – laying down a base that insures an easier transition to a responsive site. By laying down clean, responsive-ready groundwork – including the exclusion of the odd inline css, this means that under most circumstances, should you decide to add a responsive design later, the content on all your pages will be prepared for the transition.
Now, how about that teleporter and the biosphere on the moon I was promised? Still waiting.