The Myths Surrounding Responsive Web Design

First of all what is responsive web design? In a nutshell, responsive web design can deliver web pages to variable device sizes such as desktops, tablets and mobiles.

With the number of benefits responsive design offers, many new sites are adopting this approach from large organisations to small local businesses. One relatively new responsive website that I like in particular is the updated BBC News site.

We always recommend to our clients that the websites we design and develop for them are responsive. With more and more web traffic coming from mobile devices it’s essential that our clients’ websites function effectively across a range of screen sizes.

However it is clear that there are certain misconceptions about mobile browsing and responsive design that have slowed down the uptake of this approach. These misconceptions are easy to debunk.

1. People want different things from a mobile site

It is impossible to determine an individual’s intentions of using a website based on their device type. However it is fair to assume that they have come to a website due its content. Therefore, focusing upon content delivery and developing the best user experience is the best practice to engage a multi-device user base.

2. A responsive approach takes significantly more code and more testing

Developing a responsive website with varying device types in mind from the beginning does not have to result in more code, through the adoption of tried and tested methods and adherence to best practices.

In regards to testing, it is nearly impossible to test on every mobile device available but through the use of numerous tools available to help the process and developing a testing checklist to test key areas, the process can be effectively completed.

3. Responsive websites results in decreased performance and a heavier page load

When developed in a correct manner; through the use of the numerous tools that a web developer keeps up their sleeve, and with low bandwidth users considered from the beginning, a responsive website’s overall performance should not be hampered.

4. Responsive website must include everything your desktop site features

Responsive designs allows you if required to cut down on certain content and features, allowing you to tailor the content delivered to mobile users.

However, one of the main purposes of responsive design is to make content available to all, therefore hiding content is not always the best idea. If it is the case you can hide it, it may be arguable that did you really need it in the first place.