RWD! No, It’s Not Rear Wheel Drive! It’s Responsive Web Design!

RWD! No, It’s Not Rear Wheel Drive! It’s Responsive Web Design!

Graphics of different devices.

Responsive Web Design has generated significant traction in the digital space.

It’s essentially designing the same content and a consistent user experience for different screen sizes. The pages are built using a combination of CSS3 media queries, flexible layout and flexible images.

In the past it was not unusual for two separate sites to be developed. One site was designated for devices such as laptops and desktop computers. The other site was developed for small screen devices such as phones, tablets etc. on a subdomain or different domain entirely.

We’re at a point where arguments could be made for either choice. We tend to favor the more progressive of the choices so responsive web design is here to stay.

Our considerations take into account the following technical issues:

  • Screen size
  • Resolution
  • Pixel-density
  • Media query support
  • Performance
  • Orientation

There is a fundamental question of content, and people have various opinions.

Do we serve device specific content?

Do we treat the device as a secondary concern, and serve content dependent on context?

What is “context” anyway?

How do we know that particular content is useful in a particular “context”?

Our assumptions can be restrictive and tantamount to censorship. We may be working against our campaign objectives and that is not acting in the best interest of our clients. That kind of thinking costs our clients money.

My opinion is to serve consistent content with a focus on a device aware user experience. The experience is adjusted or enhanced depending on the device/browser combination. This is known as progressive enhancement.