What Responsive Design Doesn’t Do

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Responsive web design is really important. The mass adoption of mobile tablets/phones as a means of consuming web content is driving the invention of ways to present sites that look as good on smartphones as they do on 24-inch monitors. Responsive design is just that, the technology that keeps things working across multiple viewing formats.

With more and more designers turning to responsive design there is more and more evidence of what it can do; but what about the things that responsive design does not do? Here are 3 things to consider:

1. Responsive design does not provide an exact replica of the content

It is thought that by using a responsive framework that this will help display things as an exact copy across devices at varying sizes. This is impossible.

To fit the page you see on the monitor onto the screen of a smartphone, something’s got to go – and that’s the content. When a site is displayed on a smaller screen there are times when certain content needs to be hidden so that things fit. Usually this content is an image/graphic that would not look good on such a small screen anyways. Textual content shouldn’t get thrown out.

2. Responsive design may not be a time saver

Stylesheets are time savers. Style sheets are used by web designers to define the layout, look-and-feel, and design of their pages. One quick change to colour code and thousands of pages can change in look.

Before responsive design, pages had to be designed many times over in order to display properly on the device that accessed it. A fluid grid of responsive design is intended to fix that, and it does for the most part.

You may only need to create a page once, but you need to design and test it on every device. This takes time.

3. Responsive design may not be faster

Longer load times can be a problem when it comes to usability. Visitors get frustrated when a site takes too long to load and many times leave before they even get a chance to see the website.

Despite the fact that content needs to be hidden sometimes to fir smaller screens; it still needs to be downloaded from the server. These hidden downloads use bandwidth and memory which can slow things down

So is responsive design worth it? – Yes

A study recently said that 60% of mobile device users would rather read news using their browser as opposed to reading it on an app. Given that news depends heavily on textual content, being able to display it across different platforms is a must

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