Finally, I made the switch. My blog is responsive. “Responsive!?”…
Responsive Web Design
The most significant trend in the web industry today is found under the umbrella of “Responsive Web Design” (RWD). In short, RWD is about making sure the site looks fine across a broad range of devices, browsers and screen sizes.
A more formal definition is that RWD “indicates that a web site is crafted to use Cascading Style Sheets 3 media queries, an extension of the @media rule, with fluid proportion-based grids, to adapt the layout to the viewing environment, and probably also use flexible images. As a result, users across a broad range of devices and browsers will have access to a single source of content, laid out so as to be easy to read and navigate with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling.” (Source: Wikipedia)
This trend is critical since many sites today are visited more frequently through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets than through desktops or laptops. This evolution drives the need to re-evaluate design (does it look fine without resizing, panning and scrolling), content (should all content be available on all devices) and context (should functionality and information be adapted to the geographical location, or to the fact that the user has a camera at hand).
Mobile Web, Responsive Web, and App
Instead of creating a separate mobile web site, as a sibling or daughter to the “full desktop” site (which has been what many have done until today), the trend is to make sure that the full site adapts itself to the user’s device, browser and screen size. If this trend continues, we’ll have two important mobile channels for companies that wish to interact with different targets: the web site and the app.
- Web: Mobile users surf the web like never before. Making sure that the web site renders nicely is seen as a hygiene factor, it’s a must.
- App: Companies with targets, customers or employees, that seek very frequent interaction or, very specific type of interaction or that just would be better served with a richer user experience on their mobile device, will also design and deploy apps.
This clearly diminishes the need of a mobile web site (one that is separate from the “full desktop” and not responsive).
The Mobile Web goes away
I believe that we’ll see more and more sites being built using “Responsive Web Design”-guidelines. As this evolves, the new sites will replace the specific mobile web sites. (Some argue that this is how the Web always should have been since its early days. Some actually argue it was responsive in the early days and that it evolved into “a desktop Web”.)
Companies that want or need to optimize user experience and design will also make use of the benefits of the native or hybrid app. These are indeed exciting times!
… and oh, about my blog. I learned a lot moving it from a “desktop only with a specific mobile version” to one single responsive. Of course, I am not finished. There are more tweaks and more thought to be put into look and feel. But then again, tweaking is right at the core of the beauty of the Web! So, please do let me know if you find any glitches or errors on any of your devices, browsers or screen sizes!