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Responsive Web Design (RWD) - The Future?

by Administrator | 1 comments

Responsive Web Design - over-reaction or the future of web development? From a web developer’s perspective, the internet is about to get extremely messy indeed. We already have to deal with incompatible browsers, emerging platforms and developing languages as well as trying to figure out search engine algorithms. PC sales are on the decline with reports showing another quarterly drop in sales - the fifth consecutive quarterly loss in market share as surfing the web on mobile devices becomes more and more prevalent. One recent study mentions a staggering 2,500 different devices out there - all trying to view our company websites.

Of course, all of these machines have different screen resolutions, different browsers, operating systems and search engines - a website developer’s nightmare for sure. So, how exactly do we go about building websites in order to accommodate this new, growing audience? The 'in-vogue' term we are looking for here is Responsive Web Design (RWD) - or is it? What about Adaptive Web Design and adopting a 'multiple, fixed-width layout' solution? Hmmm, OK, lets take a step back for a moment.

Before we even look at trying to come up with a solution, we really need to ask ourselves at least one basic question, and that has got to be - "Is there actually a problem? Or is it perceived?"

These new devices have comparatively only just started appearing on the scene (say in the last 18 months) and the large majority of the web is populated with websites that were built for the PC markets. They (the websites) probably don't look so hot on these new devices, but surely, aren't all of their owners in the same boat? Do developers get their heads down and try to redesign or rebuild the older websites (millions of them) in order to look good on these 2,500 new device types... or do we simply wait for the 2,500 manufacturers to get their new products to view the existing web properly?

The company, who employs a design team to redevelop their website now at great expense, may well look foolish in less than a year when the new iPhone or Android appears on the market with intelligent, self adjusting on-board software. On the reverse side of that coin - maybe that company will get the jump on their competitors and steal a larger portion of their market? Who knows? The reality of the situation is that many companies can't afford an expensive redesign, and will only change when they can see a clear incentive to do so - which at the moment is hard to see. Some bigger companies are investing in a new, responsive website - but not many it would appear.

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