A catchup on responsive design

By the Editor In Web Design No comments

What is responsive design?
Responsive design is building websites that provide optimal viewing experiences across a gradient of devices using a fluid layout.

Here’s a nifty website a friend of ours found that illustrates responsive design extremely well. It’s especially useful when explaining to non tech savvy clients.
http://finecitizens.com/defineResponsive/
http://finecitizens.com/defineResponsive/#/www.microsoft.com

A little bit of backstory.
While it’s close to impossible to say who first used a method like it, it was Ethan Marcotte that brought the idea to popularity with an article he wrote in 2010. Since then (near two years) responsive design has grown and evolved tremendously with new methodologies, best practices and a myriad of image handling techniques etc. It’s still growing as I type this, and I still constantly see tweets and blog posts flying by my screen about responsive design.

Why do we want to use responsive design?
More and more devices appear on the market, day by day, from laptops, to mobile phones, to tablets. Catering to the multitude of displays is almost becoming a requirement for web agencies and web designers.

The advantages of responsive design?
The ability to maintain a single codebase and a single set of content instead of managing a handful of mobile sites is a huge advantage. Another item I really love about responsive design is that the user experience across a responsive site is always similar, it’s never significantly diminished per device because the mobile layout of a responsive site is just a streamlined version of the desktop. It’s the same site. It’s using the same assets. Too often have I landed on a mobile site and been completely ostracized from its parent site. Here’s a funny private one that’s has always irked the hell out of me… people linking me to mobile sites on my desktop! Haha. No more of that!

Is responsive design without its drawbacks?
Of course it isn’t. The first, and some would argue probably the biggest point is the time and financial additions that come with responsive design (On the counterhand maintenance and future changes won’t have this problem, so you decide). Design, designing for responsive takes longer as you’ll need to wireframe different layout scenarios.

A final thought.
Is responsive design the perfect solution? No. Is responsive design the best solution we have? Yes.

 

Some sites we think have done an incredible job with their responsive design:
Digital Atelier
Oak Studios
Starbucks
Happy Cog