Why Your Brand Should Be Thinking About Responsive Web Design
An emphasis is being placed on using responsive web design, or RWD, for websites in the digital world. RWD is the leading design technique for websites as we finally enter the proclaimed year of mobile. With HTML5 at the forefront, it serves as a methodology and set of principles for design.
Why use RWD? It ensures a seamless switch from desktop to mobile and tablet. Because almost 700 million iOS devices are in use as of September 2013, nearly 25% of adults are online with 3+ devices at once, and the #1 device is laptop and mobile smartphones, platform fragmentation and innovation make one single supported platform virtually impossible (source: MoovWeb, Moving Beyond Responsive Web Design: The Roadmap Forward).
If you’re not already thinking about optimizing your website for mobile, now is the time to start. Building your website without keeping mobile best practices in mind can be a costly decision that will impact you in the future when you are finally ready to focus on your mobile site. Why reinvent the wheel down the road when you can get started (and should get started!) today?
An important differentiation has been made between RWD and responsive site framework. These terms are often mistaken to mean the same thing but they are actually very different. Where RWD is the tactical process of building a website, responsive framework is the strategy or implementation of the process. It is important that RWD and responsive framework are used in tandem from the beginning of your project.
Here are some important factors to keep in mind while thinking about your website, mobile, and responsive design:
- Beginning your project using responsive frameworks cost less because they stay within scope; it’s expensive to complete a responsive "refit" to your website after it’s already been created.
- Put your user first - User experience or (UX) is the primary goal of RWD.
- Think about the purpose of your website during the design process: Will people realistically be using mobile to complete the functionalities you wish them to?
Now get to those wireframes and don’t forget – mobile and tablet is the now, not the future, for your website no matter how big or small you believe it to be.