What is Responsive Web Design?
The Current Landscape
The term Responsive Web Design (RWD) has been around since 2010. It describes the method of constructing a website that gives the visiting user an optimal experience on any device they choose. This essentially eliminates the need to pinch/zoom in order to read important content or having to tap a link with precision in the fear of tapping the wrong link. Looking for an example? The Terrostar website you're reading this blog post on is responsive. With a desktop browser, re-size your browser from wide to skinny. Notice the change in layout? At certain stages, the layout adjusts itself to fit comfortably in your browser.
The idea of RWD is actually the default state of the web. Naturally, nothing is constrained to a certain width, and content will flow to the size of the screen it is being viewed on. At some point we decided to give our websites a defined width. It gave us the feeling of control; perhaps we were scared to embrace the unknown. In today’s world, this way of thinking will simply not produce long term results for you or your website; consider these stats:
- Mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, e-readers, etc.) are selling 10x faster than the PC boom of the 80’s
- Of the 311 million people living in the United States, 55% access the web using their mobile devices
- 31% of web capable phone owners use them as their primary means to access the internet
Create Once, Publish Everywhere
For me, the biggest benefit of RWD is having one website, one code base, and one URL structure, accessible on any device that can connect to the internet. Having to sync your mobile website with your desktop site can create unnecessary problems, extra overhead, and frustrations. With one code base, you’re cutting down maintenance time, not having to worry about chasing the new popular device, and increasing productivity.
Yes, responsive web design costs more initially, but it will ultimately cost you more if you choose to ignore the multitude of devices accessing the web today. How people access your website is as diverse as it has ever been, and it is getting more diverse each day. At Terrostar, we’re embracing the unpredictability of the future and encourage you to do the same.