The term “responsive design” is now well established within the web design and development community but what does it mean for “normal” people. Essentially responsive design is a methodology rather than any easily definable style or trend. At it’s most basic it is a method of creating a single website that can be displayed on all devices regardless of screen size. The content remains the same but the layout changes as per the device limitations. This is in direct contrast to another method by which a website would have several distinct versions to cater for the majority of screen sizes.
Morgan Stanley recently released a report that suggest that mobile web use is increasing dramatically. While that’s not news in itself, it’s an upward trend that began with the release of the first iPhone, the scale and speed of the increase is what’s surprising to many industry veterans.
That’s an astounding fact but perhaps not quite as head-spinning as this one from Cisco:
Morgan Stanley’s analysts believe that, based on the current rate of change and adoption, the mobile web will be bigger than desktop Internet use by 2015.
By the end of 2013, there will be more mobile devices on Earth than people.
So it’s fair to say that having a mobile friendly website is no longer an added luxury or a nice-to-have optional “feature” of your website - it’s now an essential web strategy. Google has publicly stated that the responsive approach is their preferred solution - it makes more sense to have search engine listings for a single url rather than the multiple domain approach - www.mysite.com rather than mobile.mysite.com and desktop.mymysite.com and quite possibly myfridgenowhasinternetconnectivity.mysite.com : )
It’s important to remember that responsive web design is not just about mobile phones, there’s also tablet computers, games consoles, e-readers and smart TVs - for now. The aim of responsive web design is to future proof (as much as is possible) against the devices that have yet to reach the market or gain significant usage by being “device agnostic”.
So what’s the key takeaway? Not only is the web itself changing at a breakneck pace so is the way we view content. So as a website owner if you want your content to be viewed by the largest audience you need to ensure that your site is viewable on any device. Right now we believe the best way to do that is by implementing responsive design and Google agrees!