Responsive Web Design

Did anyone else notice this past week with all the excitement from Apple with their new iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Watch, and free album from U2 that Apple updated their website to be a responsive web design?  It only took them seven years from the release of their first iPhone in June of 2007 to design a website that would adjust to their own mobile device.  In all fairness to Apple responsive web design has only really been around since 2011 and it wasn’t until 2012 that it has really taken off and become an industry standard in design.  On the other hand the ideal and the conversation has been going on since 2004, well before the release of the first generation iPhone.

But what is responsive web design? Defined by Wikipediaresponsive web design is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors).

I’ve gone back and forth if I should recommend responsive web design or not.  I’ve watched Apple as well and a few other large well-known companies and brands that have not followed the 2012 trend of responsive web design continuing with a site that requires a lot of zooming in and out to read and see the full website.  As a freelance designer I’ve debated if I need to do something that Apple (a $465 billion plus company) doesn’t feel is necessary.  Are these companies all above design standards because they are billion dollar companies?  Clients are always comparing their desired design to other companies that offer similar products and services and I believe this is a good practice.  For me I watch not just the similar sites but also large new, online stores, and other corporations for how they respond to a new trending design.  Many ideas and designs come and go as a passing fad.  I’m coming to the conclusion that responsive web design isn’t a passing fad but rather a design standard that is here to stay as we see more web browsing is being done from different mobile devices.

So grab your mobile device and start browsing.  You are going to find that most sites that want to make an impact are responsive web design and will be easy to gather the desired information from them.

photo credit: A Book Apart

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