Responsive design is an approach of web design consisting in elaborating websites offering an optimal reading experience and web browsing for the user, no matter what device he uses (mobile phone, tablet, computer). A successful responsive user experience implies at least resizing (zoom), reframing and pages multidirectional scrolling. The expression “Responsive web design” has been introduce by Ethan Marcotte in may 2010.
There are nowadays 3 ways to convey web content on connected devices: a dedicated website, a native application or a responsive version of a website. You must know that every solution has its pros and cons: according to your needs and your constraints (especially budget and deadlines), one or another can suit better.
A dedicated website projet consists in designing several different entities according the device used: a main website, a website for smartphones, a website for tablets, etc. Usually, an initial test from the server side detects the device type and the user is returned to the dedicated website. The pros of dedicated websites are:
– the possibility to precisely refine the website structure and its content according the device,
– the possibility to target and adapt to various features
– may be a “quick” alternative, waiting for a complete and responsive overhaul of your website.
But a dedicated website has also some cons:
– duplicate content,
– maintenance of several website versions and several links (less easily indexable by search engines),
– server side, UA sniffing is often distorted or not updated.
A native application is a product specifically developed in many “languages” (iOS, Android, WindowsPhone) and is downloadable and is referred in a “Store” (AppStore, Google Play, Windows store). It has many advantages:
– native functionalities support facilitated (touch, accelerometer, notifications, localisation, etc.),
– a possible setup on your device,
– a total acclimatisation to the device (ergonomics, performances, pixel density),
– the presence of your brand on the different “stores” and being able to offer a shortcut on the user’s smartphone.
But it has cons as well:
– a specific development in many “languages”,
– the costs: development, licences and maintenance for every operating system,
– a nonindexable content by a classic search engine,
– the application updating requires a manual action from the user.
Everyday, multiple screen sizes and formats are connected at the same time. The responsive design method appears to be the easiest and the more convenient solution, because of its main goal: suitable for any kind of electrical appliance, in transparent way for the user. The advantages of a responsive design are:
– costs and deadlines usually inferiors compared to the other techniques,
– an easier projet maintenance with only one HTML file,
– transparent updates and multiplatform deployments,
– a responsive design can be considered even after the initial website conception, even though it is not the ideal situation,
– one of the undeniable advantages is that now Google puts forward responsive website in the search results, which is good for your SEO strategy. However, the disadvantages of a responsive design are:
– a good technical knowledge is required,
– it is necessary to foresee a series of tests throughout the project (device labs, simulators),
– it is not easy to get around the ergonomic and performance limits of search engines,
create responsive design takes times, 25% of extra time.
At the end, a responsive design is one way among others to reach your goals but should not be considered as the only solution or as a “magic solution” to all the issues. Moreover, it it not unusual that companies use several approaches at the same time: i.e. a dedicated and responsive website, or a responsive website with detections server side (RESS), etc.
At Pimclick, we offer all kind of solutions, please contactus for more information.