You’ve probably heard someone (everyone) say: Responsive design is the future! But what does that actually mean, and why should you care about it? While responsive design sounds complicated, it’s really just a design paradigm that allows your users to access your website in an efficient manner whether they’re at their desk, on their iPad at Starbucks, or on their phone during rush hour.
Mobile traffic will eclipse desktop traffic in the US within the next 5 years (and probably sooner), and we’ve already seen this trend in other countries. With mobile traffic on the rise, here’s a question to ask: can you afford to ignore those users? In this week’s Noodles and Doodles, Paul Traylor tells you how you can deploy responsive design directly with the launch of your site, rather than worrying about a stand-alone mobile site or mobile app development.
Transcript below:[Paul]: Hi, my name’s Paul Traylor. I’m an interactive designer with 352, and I’m here today to talk to you about responsive design. So we’ll start beginning: what is responsive design? Well, responsive design is a paradigm that allows your site to adapt to the needs of your users regardless of which type of device they’re accessing your website on. This means whether your user is sitting at home on their beautiful widescreen monitor, or at Starbucks with their latte on their iPad or God forbid stuck in rush hour traffic on their smartphone, they’re going to be able to access the information they need from your website in an efficient manner. Efficiency is what it’s all about. We’ve all had a frustrating experience a pinching and zooming our way through a website to find content, and I think we can all say that we won’t tolerate that much longer. That speaks a lot to this next point I’m about to make: why should you care why should you care about mobile users? Why should you care about responsive design? Predictions are that mobile usage will eclipse desktop usage in the coming years – years, we’re not talking a decade – years! Within five years you can expect to see this trend domestically. Internationally and in emerging markets you can already see this trend. That’s a very powerful statement: can you afford to neglect all those users? Probably not. Why responsive? Why not develop your own native app? Why not have an iPhone app, an Android app et cetera? Why not develop that mobile-specific site for you for users? Well those aren’t bad solutions, and sometimes they’re appropriate, but there’s some great things about responsive design to be said, to be considered before you go that route. So with responsive design, it allows you to spend less money. Responsive design can be employed right from the beginning concurrently with your site development and may only add as much as 20-25 percent to your website. Versus native app development which would require an entirely additional development team and/or an additional development cycle for you to produce that. The same goes for a stand-alone mobile site. Less money. We can all afford to save a few bucks. Less time! Again, when you’re developing concurrently, when you’ve got one team; it’s laying the base work for your responsive site from the beginning. They’re going to be able to do it within the development cycle of your current site. Less time. God forbid you have to have something out in a matter of a month, and you have to do multiple teams, multiple projects. The coordination alone can be frustrating. So what’s this beautiful graphic here? Well, this is meant to show you that there’s less upkeep because you can update content here on your desktop, and it will automatically propagate through everything. So now your tablet users have got the same content and your smartphone users have got the same content, all by updating content in one place – less upkeep. That’s a powerful statement because if you have a native app, and you have information that you need to update you’re going to have to update your website and the native app. And that’s every time you want to update something. And lastly, a consistent user experience, and this is something that we talked about back here. If the user has their first impression with your website on their desktop, you would hope that they will be able to find the same information in an efficient manner whether they were coming back to your website on their tablet or their iPad. This consistent user experience, in my opinion, is one of the most important reasons why to employ responsive design. If the user has already become familiar with your site and given you that time, you’re rewarding that by providing them with the same experience regardless of which device they’re coming back on That’s about all I have to say. Again, thanks for watching if you have any additional questions, feel free to send them our way. Have a great day!