Recent surveys by Pew Internet show that the number of users accessing web sites through their cell phones is increasing: “34% of cell internet users go online mostly using their phones, and not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer.”
With a drastic increase of various device screen sizes and resolutions, specifically in tablets and smartphones, and more and more consumers accessing the internet on the go, the challenge as a business is to create a great user experience whichever device your customers decide to use.
So how does your marketing team ensure that your customers have a positive online experience, regardless of device? You make your web site responsive.
Here are two common methods that are still used to design web sites:
- Focus on mobile users: The design is optimized for the smallest, most common device or mobile experience where less is more;
- Focus on desktop users: The design will fit the large screen or desktop view of the website first and then elements are moved and scaled down for mobile
A question then is what will be the device we access the internet with 2, 5, 10 years from now? A huge 3D screen? Glasses? One sure thing is that on-the-go access is here to stay as well as a huge range of screen sizes and resolutions.
And that’s why, with Responsive Design, it’s goof to think about all devices right from the start so the experience is always fully optimized— touch or no touch, small screen or big screen, glasses, 2025 super holographic 3D projection. But I getting ahead of myself…
But as a designer, how to present a responsive design to our clients? Do we mock-up every single resolution and device that already exists? I think that for the time being (and that might be only the next 6 months), I will keep focusing on making sure the web site I design are suitable for mobile devices, yet they adapt easily to bigger screens with more real estate.
There is also another issue to consider when looking at responsive design. The device bandwidth. Some people are still browsing from their mobile device on a 3G connection. Do we sacrifice content (especially high-resolution pictures and video) or do we assume the user will want to have that onerous content even if she has to pay it in download time?
Of course, as of now, I do not think there is just one answer to these questions, and that is why I spend a great deal of time with my clients to educate them about these issues so we can decide how to prioritize the responsiveness on each category of their customers.
If your website is an important part of your business and it’s not responsive yet, let’s talk about it!