Today responsive web design has become the epitome of integrated
online marketing, as business owners strategically offer a customized
web experience to both desktop and smartphone users. However, responsive
web design is not an ultimate solution to online strategy. It has its
own set of benefits and challenges that you need to keep in mind.
According to Ethan Marcotte, author of Responsive Web Design:
“Most importantly, responsive web design isn’t intended to serve as a replacement for mobile web sites. […] And as a development strategy, it’s meant to be evaluated to see if it meets the needs of the project you’re working on.”
Although well-known companies like Sony, Microsoft, Disney, Starbucks and more have opted to implement responsive web design, the questions is: Is responsive design right for you?
Below are some of the pros and cons of using responsive design to help you decide which direction to take:
Pros of Responsive Design
• A single code base for all web experiences. The greatest
strength of responsive design is that you can utilize the same code and
content through all of your web layouts. This is made possible through
media queries which allow your web developers to use a particular
style-sheet based on the screen size.
• A single site for all devices. You do not have to create separate sites for different devices. As a website owner, you can simplify site management configurations, as well as reduce hosting and infrastructure expenses.
• An optimized web experience across all web-enabled touchpoints. For many online businesses, the quest for providing consistent optimized web experience on various touchpoints has become increasingly difficult. With responsive design as a trump card, web developers will have the ability to deliver optimized web experiences across web-enabled touchpoints.
Cons of Responsive Web Design
• Developing responsive pages takes time. Responsive design is
still fairly new and is still in the process of developing.
Implementation can take longer than expected. Even if your web
developers fully understand the concept, approach and technique for
building a responsive site, the thought process and effort will still
take some time.
• Optimization happens on the device itself. Unlike web proxy solutions and screen scraping that optimize the experience on the server-side, in a responsive site everything happens on the device itself. Your web developers need to make sure that large desktop image files will not be mistakenly downloaded by the customer onto their mobile device.
• A responsive website requires a front-end rewrite. If you are planning to tailor a responsive site to your existing site, then you are just wasting your time. Responsive web design will not work with your existing site. Everything has to be rewritten from HTML to CSS front-end code.
Indeed, responsive web design is not a cookie-cutter solution. Therefore, a lot of aspects have to be considered when implementing it. We don’t think there is only one solution for any online strategy. So if you are interested in transforming your website to respond to your customer’s needs and interests, be sure to employ a company that understands both technical and user aspects.