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Responsive Web Design: When Is It Most Appropriate?

by (June 11, 2013)

When a developer creates a website, they often design for large screens and lose sight of how it will look when a user browses the same website from their mobile device. When users click links within the site via their mobile phones, reading and navigating become difficult,requiring zooming and re-sizing to read or click. This is when you need to think developing a device-specific site.

One Size Fits All –  Responsive Web Design is the methodology that recommends the design and implementation of a website that responds to user behavior and environment based on the screen size, orientation and operating system of their device.

Typically, Responsive Web Design is suitable for informational web pages, with information on the right side of the screen in desktop applications brought to the bottom of the page in mobile applications.


Benefits of Responsive Web Design:

Some of the advantages of using responsive web design are:

  • Single code base – build once, run across all devices
  • Renders across any screen size – one can view the internet on 20″ monitors, 15″ laptops, 10″netbooks, 7″ tablets, 3″ smartphones and every size between. It also considers the huge difference in widths and heights, whether the screen is landscape or portrait, and screen resolution
  • Improves SEO – a single version of the website improves page ranking. Issues have arisen in which having two versions of a site (website and mobile site) impact page ranking
  • Reduces maintenance cost and effort due to single link
  • Provides control and flexibility – changes can be made at one centralized place. You do not need to contact multiple vendors to make changes when your mobile site/ mobile application is built by different development companies

Three main scenarios where Responsive Web Design would be most applicable:

1. Corporate Websites/Blog Sites
The website first and mobile second is usually the business need. For corporate websites, the need for rich images is lesser, device-agnostic solutions is higher, and target audience is a huge factor. And for blog sites, extensive user input is not required and images required are minimal. For these types of sites, brand consistency is primary. With one website that works on both desktop and mobile screens, you will find it much easier to keep a consistent brand identity. Also, no style guides are required to communicate between multiple vendors such as different entities responsible for the desktop and mobile versions of your site.

2. Media/News Sites
In these types of sites, users are more accustomed to scrolling from top to bottom using their mobile. Responsive Web Design works well here. These sites are more text-heavy, and sections such as breaking news require real-time content updates which add to maintenance
cost if different mobile technology options are used for the design.

3. Location-based Services
Maps and direction finder services are generally image heavy. In these types of services, to view the routes closely and to get better clarity zooming and re-sizing the screen with fingers become necessary. Auto-adjustment becomes essential, which is supported in Responsive Web Design.

Multiple Approaches to Build Mobile Application

There are multiple options to develop mobile applications. If you are building mobile application for your organization and would like to know which is the right approach to choose for your organization, download our whitepaper: Responsive Web Design vs. Mobile Web App: What’s best for your enterprise.

Kavyanidhi Narayan

Marketing Manager, RapidValue Solutions

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