Responsive Web Design (RWD) is an approach to web design in which a site is crafted to provide an optimal viewing experience -easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones) – WikiPedia
In today’s day and age where the reader chooses how they consume your information it’s important to look at how you build your website to be ‘device friendly’. More and more people are accessing your website via mobile and tablet devices.
“7,9-million South Africans access the Internet on their cell phones. Of these, 2,48-million access it only on their cellphones, and do not have access on the computers. The remaining 6,02-million users access the Internet on computers, laptops, and tablet computers. However, 90% of this number – 5,42-million – also access it on their cellphones. This means that almost 8-million South Africans sometimes or regularly access the Internet on their phones.” – World Wide Worx
Designers have to think ahead when they are designing for websites these days. Will a variation on the layout work on a mobile device? Can it break down into a simplified double or single column layout from the master design?
There is a nice set of responsive design templates and tools here.
By using techniques like media queries in CSS and responsive semi-fluid layouts one can go a fair way to make designs work on all devices. Essentially it means that you would design multiple stylesheets for multiple devices (usually3 stylesheets, for web, tablet and mobile) and by doing a media query find out which the current CSS layout is to serve.
Would this method of designing add onto your web design budget? Yes, probably, but the returns are worth it in the end.
Think mobile, and think it fast, because you will be left behind very quickly once it goes even more mainstream than it already is.
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