Now that Responsive Website Design (RWD) is currently the in-thing, you might be completely satisfied that you have implemented it for your website. Probably, you will also be happy that your mobile customers will be elated over the fact that they can view your website on their mobiles, and can purchase your stuff while on the go. However, you might be in a losing position if Responsive Web Design is your only goal and the solitary solution for your mobile customers.
Mobile: Peculiar Problems
The mobile presents unique and peculiar problems since the early years of the 21st century. Actually, mobile users have been presented with oversimplified solutions, so that they now believe that responsive web is the only solution.
However, the fact is that RWD needs to be applied in an intelligent fashion and it should not be your website’s ultimate goal. At the same time, it needs to be applied in a case to case basis, and ultimately is not the only panacea for all the problems of modern website design.
According to reliable statistics obtained from research by Guy Podjarny, “nearly 72% of responsive websites deliver the same number of bytes regardless of screen size…” this is even the case on slow mobile networks. Thus, not all users have the patience to wait for the website to load.
RWD and Mobile Websites
At the same time, mobile websites now belong to the past. However, according to Ethan Marcotte, who coined the term “Responsive Web Design” says that a RWD need not serve as a replacement for mobile web sites. However, assigning a single URL shouldn’t always deliver the same document requested, and every device need not download the same resources. Thus, the resources displayed on the device could be in tune with the type of device ultimately being used.
Hence, the crucial question here is that does one after all need to serve his or her mobile visitors a different layout that is based on current content? In a nutshell, the answer is no. Instead, it is possible to pay more attention to optimizing performance that could lead to a much better mobile experience rather than adopting the layout.
RWD – Alternative Ways
Frankly speaking, there are many others ways of making your desktop website more mobile-friendly without involving the responsive process. Yes, it is a good idea to create a mobile-optimized site, whether responsive, RESS, or otherwise, and the same idea is also applicable for tablets and other emerging devices.
At the same time, it needs to be understood that creating a better experience means more conversions and better engagement, along with a fair chance that the user will garner a better feeling about the brand or product that you deliver as a client. Hence, instead of constantly harping on about RWD, the need of the hour is to create a better focused experience.
Hence, if at this juncture, one might feel RWD is a fad, then there ought to be certain way out. There are other ways out if RWD is not the answer for your business or website. Therefore, if you still want to enhance your website experience for mobiles, tablets, and other hand-held internet enabled gadgets, then the following methods might be applicable to you:
- Use a separate mobile site: The mobile website is usually hosted on the “m.” subdomain. These sites are usually developed from scratch. The site is displayed on a user’s mobile device after the detection by the server that the device in use (aka user agent) is a mobile device or a smartphone. Thus, if you cannot use RWD for some reason, then this works out to be a fine alternative. Also, search engines will crawl the mobile website and will display as an alternative to your desktop version.
- Use a mobile app: This alternative to responsive web design or a mobile website can be advantageous in many ways. However, mobile apps are more preferred for controlling user experience and making good use of the hardware capabilities of the user’s smartphones. As apps are expensive to develop, they might not be the ideal way ahead. Additionally, they cannot be crawled by your search engines, which indirectly mean that your website, as well as
SEO, cannot work in tandem with each other if you completely rely on an app to define your mobile presence.
Visitors Don’t Really Care
The reality out there in the wide world is that visitors don’t really care if your website is really responsive or not. What really matters is whether your website can really deliver what needs to be done. What also matters is whether they are able to interact with the website and what they experience is fluid instead of being broken.
In fact, much of RWD is being presented in such a way that it appears to be a fad in spite of it not being so. Although it is a relevant and advanced technology, it is being utilized as if it is the panacea for all problems. So, if it is all about layout re-adjustment, and also about achieving best-in-class user experience as well as content parity, the technique utilized should not matter.
Yes, it is true, that the principles of RWD can be utilized to achieve the end-goal, but what is being utilized should not be done just for the heck of it. Responsive web design is a tool rather than a fad and it should be used diligently to take the web design experience to a higher level.
Hence, circumstances might warrant you to look beyond RWD and make you seek alternatives to responsive design. Responsive web design might not be your cup of tea because it might not be a part of your budget or you have determined that you don’t need scaling to the level provided by it.
So, also consider other techniques available such as the server side in order to create an admirable experience. Hence, it is worth investigating other available techniques available to assist mobile, but is not the sum totality of all website design.
RWD has been promoted to address legitimate concerns regarding the massive explosion of browsers and devices, but it is a legitimate web design method and not a fad. Responsive web design ought to be left that way!
Images: “A word cloud of web design related items/Shutterstock.com“
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