If you’ve ever struggled to use a website on your mobile phone then you’ll appreciate the need for a new approach to web design.
Consumers in 2013 are spending more time and more money browsing websites on their mobile devices than ever before.
Each device has a different screen size and therefore a different set of usability challenges for the website designer. There are large and small mobile phones, tablets such as the Kindle Fire, iPad, Google Nexus, Samsung Galaxy and desktop monitors as big as 30”.
In order to tailor web page content based on screen resolution, businesses would typically either have a dedicated mobile/tablet site with their own web address or use a device detection script that would determine the target device and then redirect the user to a device-specific site. However, there are several drawbacks with this approach.
Some device detection scripts can have difficulty keeping up with the massive amount of mobile devices that continue to hit the market, making them a less-than-perfect solution. In addition, creating and maintaining separate mobile- and tablet-specific sites takes more time and increases development costs.
Responsive design offers a potentially better solution to the fragmentation of web devices. Rather than creating separate sites with different content, user interfaces and creative elements tailored for each device, a responsive site adapts and scales the presentation layer to work best within the available screen size.
What are the benefits of responsive design?
- Tailor content layout based on device type
- Improved user experience – easy reading and navigation
- Better usability for the visitor – a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling
- Publish your content only once
What are the benefits of device detection?
- Customise the type of content shown based on the device type
- Focus features/functionality based on the likely intentions of visitors
- Remove page elements that don’t work on specific devices
- Add elements to take advantage of device capabilities
- For GPS enabled handsets, you can pick up user location via GPS instead of asking people to fill out forms