From the nineties until about five years ago, the main concern web designers had was browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. We’d monitor which ones were used the most, what new versions or types were available and we’d build our sites for them. For instance, when Google Chrome decided to develop a browser we needed to modify our code based on the strengths and limitations of that particular browser. Then, when a browser’s usability dropped below 1%, like Internet Explorer 7 today, we’d drop support.
In the early 2000’s something changed web design forever. A friendly little device called a smartphone strolled into our lives. Web designers adapted and began applying various fixes behind the scenes to assure that the experience users had on their various smartphones was similar to the one they had on their desktop. We’d also continue to keep an eye on top browsers and build sites accordingly.
These days, web consumption is evolving at an alarming rate. Over 50% of the population has a smartphone and within only two years of their introduction, tablets have infiltrated one-fifth of the homes in the U.S.* Add to that a plethora of devices such as game consoles, netbooks, Mac-minis, televisions that all have various resolutions and aspect ratios that we’d have to design to.
Wait. Is this a Calgon moment for web design? Probably.
Since 2010, some very smart people have been discussing theories on how to approach the ever-changing climate of web design and the challenges we’re running into. Their solution? A technique called Responsive Design which takes one web design and makes it look great on any screen size. Unfortunately this is not a fix-all solution and with most new theories or applications this is going to take a while to perfect.
The technique of responsive design is most useful for clients who produce news or blog-style content. Simply because the reason for visiting these particular sites stems from one purpose: to read the content or view images. Right now, anything with complex, multi-purposed content will more than likely not work in a responsive design format because the code that will be used to build it is very complicated and data-heavy. This means load times will suffer and user experience flies out the door which is a one way ticket to “No-No Land” for us development people.
As we dig deeper into responsive design, there is no doubt that the web development community will come up with effective and more streamlined solutions. Until then we will continue to work with our clients to provide the best strategies that accomplish their online goals. Is responsive design for you? Contact us or give us a call and find out: (915) 351-8440.
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