For those of us who create websites and services, 2013 sees the firm requirement for mobilisation or specifically the need to make sites responsive. A million screens now exist on which users browse and interact with web content, and we need to (as far as is possible within the constraints of technology, resources and budget) build for all of them.
Building apps may seem like an obvious solution to the issue at hand. It’s clear that providing mobile apps for the major platforms is better than no apps whatsoever, but the further dilemma remains that whilst we can certainly build apps to reach a good number of those platforms, it is unlikely that we can reach all of them.
In 2013 the mobile web is key and it’s clear that having a great mobile website should be the priority.
Responsive Web Design
The solution, of course, is to make a web-site that works on every device. Enter responsive web design.
Put simply, a responsive web site uses media queries to establish what resolution of device the content is being served on. Scalable images and fluid grids then size accordingly to fit the screen dimensions and resolution requesting the content. The site you are reading this blog item on is responsive for example to to illustrate this – try making your browser window smaller. Just grab the right hand edge of your screen and drag it towards the left hand border to see the effect in practice.
The images and content column widths will shrink, then the sidebar will disappear altogether. The top of page navigation elements will also render differently when you reach tablet and mobile sizes to show a single column drop-down. You will see the layout shrink from two columns, to a single column of content.
The benefits are clear: You build a website with a flexible display framework, and it works seamlessly across thousands of different screens.
Given the rapid adoption of tablets and smartphones — and the fact that users currently seem to prefer browsing web content on the mobile web as opposed to using apps, it seems inevitable that 2013 will be the year that responsive design takes center stage as a primary development milestone for new web site development and revised design of existing sites. It certainly is here at DMC Web Services.
For businesses on-line, it represents a means of reaching users across multiple devices. For users, it ensures a quality browsing experience on every screen and device.