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Responsive website over Unresponsive website

Updated on April 5, 2015

Responsive Web Design

The way people browse the web is changing quickly - fewer and fewer users access the web at a desk in front of a large monitor with a keyboard and mouse. The web is increasingly being enjoyed on phones, tablets, wearables, TVs and everything in between. By designing a site to be responsive, it will look good and work well no matter what device users have in front of them.

As there is a growth in mobile Internet usage there comes a question of how to build websites suitable for all users. The industry response to this question that is responsive web design, also known as RWD.

Responsive web design is the practice of building a website suitable to work on every device and every screen size, no matter how large or small, mobile or desktop. Responsive web design is focused around providing an intuitive and gratifying experience for everyone. Desktop computer and cell phone users alike all benefit from responsive websites.

For some the term responsive may not be new, and others might be even more acquainted with the terms adaptive or mobile. Which may leave you wondering what exactly is the difference between all of them.

Responsive and adaptive web design are closely related, and often transposed as one in the same. Responsive generally means to react quickly and positively to any change, while adaptive means to be easily modified for a new purpose or situation, such as change. With responsive design websites continually and fluidly change based on different factors, such as viewport width, while adaptive websites are built to a groups of preset factors. A combination of the two is ideal, providing the perfect formula for functional websites. Which term is used specifically doesn’t make a huge difference.

Mobile, on the other hand, generally means to build a separate website commonly on a new domain solely for mobile users. While this does occasionally have it’s place, it normally isn’t a great idea. Mobile websites can be extremely light but they do come with the dependencies of a new code base and browser sniffing, all of which can become an obstacle for both developers and users.

Currently the most popular technique lies within responsive web design, favoring design that dynamically adapts to different browser and device viewports, changing layout and content along the way. This solution has the benefits of being all three, responsive, adaptive, and mobile.

Unresponsive Website

It is becoming more and more common for customers to use smart phones and tablets to access the internet instead of the traditional desktop computer. For companies website to transform to a mobile device they need a responsive website design. Below there are problems listed with unresponsive websites being accessed by smart phones or tablets.

Difficult to navigate – This could be seen as the main problem for unresponsive websites. As they are not built with mobiles in mind, the main navigation menus do not appear in the mobile viewer, or if they do they don’t render clearly. Meaning website visitors cannot offer the information you are offering them – scary thought!

Images do not fit – Previously images and graphics were fine when they took up 800px width but, now smartphone view ports are less than 400px wide. Large images will only be partially visible. This looks very unprofessional and can put your customer off visiting your website again.

Requires too much scroll, pinch and zoom – Your textual content can also be a bit too much, both in how it’s set on the page and just being too long, requiring your visitors to waste their time scrolling and scrolling. The amount of text is especially important when your customer is accessing the site via a mobile device.

In some cases, some of your normal website content which may not be essential information can be coded to not appear at all on the mobile devices. Mobile browsers often do not support scripting or plug-ins, which means that the range of content that they support is limited. In many cases the user has no choice of browser and upgrading it is not possible.

Mobile needs are different from desktop needs

Recognizing the mobile context is not just to be aware of the difference between screen sizes. Responsive Web Design does not recognize the mobile context because it just adequates a website to fit a screen, but it omits key mobile features like the location of the user, the connectivity, the time the user has and the information the user needs, hardware limitations, software potential, overall performance of the device, aspects like lighting, sound, visibility, accessibility and privacy. Each one of these is as important as a single piece for a great mobile experience that if you focus your design skills to adequate a desktop website for a mobile device, you’re missing the advantages the device could offer. Mobile versions of a website include less HTML, lighter JavaScript and CSS files or none at all, and smaller images. A responsive website won’t stop the browser from loading content you don’t need.Regardless of these problems, it’s essential to have in mind that responsive web design is a great way not to use it as an ultimate solution, but as a step towards integration among platforms. Every day the technology industry is striking the market with new devices, computers, Smartphones and tablets.

Still, it is important to specify that a responsive scheme settles a ground on web design and extends a wide range of opportunities to experiment and test on the vast variety of new, intuitive and fast devices. Whether this becomes a standard for web designers or only stands as an alternative way of designing, only time will tell.


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    • rickyshah profile image

      Ricky 2 years ago

      So, do you suggest responsive + Separate Mobile site ?