What is Responsive Design?
Responsive design is a web design approach aimed at creating sites to provide an optimal viewing experience. This means your site is easy to read and navigate across a multitude of platforms- from mobile devices to desktop computers.
Why is responsive design necessary?
As mentioned previously, more and more users are electing to use mobile devices to access and navigate the internet. Responsive design enables you to view exactly the same content as on the desktop version, but adapted to whatever size screen or device you use. This allows your content, and the message you are trying to convey, to be easily accessed by a wider variety of users. Other advantages include faster loading times, and a more seamless user experience in general. As German industrial design guru Dieter Rams said:
“Good design is as little design as possible”.
Challenges responsive design faces
Despite its obvious benefits and increasing popularity; responsive design isn’t the alpha and omega of creating a successful site. In actual fact, it makes for a rather poor content strategy. After all, the container itself isn’t the same as whatever it contains. As Ric van Westhreenen of Roodlicht.com states:
“A mere reshuffling of blobs of content is not a Content Strategy. It’s just a reshuffling of blobs of content.”
The well known web design publication A List Apart, recently published an article detailing the many difficulties that comes with adapting their content for different interfaces. One of the difficulties includes establishing what amount of the original content to display on mobile pages. In the case of omission, deciding what content would be valuable or useful to include also poses problems. The article quotes one developer’s frustration:
“We recently finished a massive CMS replatforming which necessitated a redesign of the desktop website. There is zero enthusiasm for going back through the content structuring, editing, and approval process with our business stakeholders and our legal review team. Whatever we wind up doing on mobile, we must use the exact same content we have on our brand-new desktop site.”
In short, while valuable in today’s day and age, responsive design in itself isn’t the answer to your content strategy problems. Be sure to check in on Friday’s blog post, in which some ideas and solutions will be discussed.