If you are an avid reader or contributor to different blogs or websites dealing with web design, etc, you might have come across the phrase “responsive web design” (RWD).
Ethan Marcotte is the person credited for coining this phrase in his article of the same name, “Responsive Web Design”. So what is it exactly?
RWD is still at a nascent stage and developers around the world are working on it. The main idea behind RWD is to develop technologically advanced websites that are effectively viewable on any device, be it a mobile phone, an iPad, a laptop or desktop. What used to happen earlier was that companies had to create a separate version of their website for a mobile and a desktop device. Hence the need for RWD arose and with it came the huge demand as well.
A lot of advanced technologies are used by developers in order to create a website using responsive web design. These include flexible images, fluid grids, flexible videos, media queries and similar others which enable a web page to adjust to the device properties where it is being displayed. Mobiles phones, gaming consoles, etc, have internet browsing facilities at present. Many even assume that laptops and desktops would be a thing of the past with the advent of innumerable other attractive handheld devices! This might be a bit far-fetched but it doesn’t slow down the huge demand for RWD by companies and developers around the world.
Just like any new technology, responsive web design has both advantages and disadvantages.
Some of the advantages of RWD are –
Single point of access – No matter from what device you want to view the site, a single web address would be sufficient. You need not have to create a separate version or web address for your website to be viewed differently by various devices.
User-friendliness – Use any device that you want, you are sure to get all the information you need from your website of choice. Just because you are viewing it from a handheld device doesn’t have to mean that you will have a problem viewing it. The experience of the users would be a lot better than previously when mobile phones had a separate website altogether.
Up keeping of the website – Lack of a separate website for various devices means that you will have to spend less time in maintaining the different websites. Only one website maintenance would be enough.
Some of the disadvantages of responsive web design are as follows –
Website design – One of the technologies that enable the development of RWD is the presence of fluid grids. Web designers might face an issue to understand how a webpage layout would look in different devices, based on which the design can be finalized. It is a time-consuming process to view a website in different devices to ensure that it looks appropriate.
Techniques for SEO – One of the basic problems faced in RWD is in case of page ranking due to techniques for SEO. Most mobile users have a different set term used for searching on the mobile browser compared to the way they search on a desktop. This might pose a problem for SEO experts to develop a website keeping both in mind and get a higher rank by the search engine crawlers.
Loading time – Since RWD is still at an initial stage, web design professionals are looking into the problem of load time for websites. Most websites take a huge time to load on the handheld devices since they have to download CSS/HTML codes which are unnecessary.