By: Derek Prospero – Bayshore Solutions Design Team
Now that we’re living with responsive web design every day, what should we understand?
By now, many people have experienced a responsive website, even if they don’t know it. These sites have layouts that shrink and stretch to best accommodate the many kinds of display. Great, right?
For a brief time, after the smartphone but before the tablet, businesses would build two websites: a regular one, and a mobile one. In many ways the mobile one behaved like a primitive app, developed separately from the main website and displaying only a fraction of the content. This sufficed, and it allowed some unique tracking opportunities, but it also required maintaining two different sites with two different sets of content. Keeping them consistent was a chore.
Responsive sites solved this, allowing for a single presentation of flexible content. So, are there any downsides to a responsive site?
You could argue that responsive templates have homogenized the standard layout. In days past, when 90% of the world was viewing the web using only 2 or 3 different resolutions, you could design highly elaborate and custom layouts “to the pixel,” where every detail and placement was subject to tight control. With a responsive site, elements are often fluid, and changes in browser size will eventually snap to a new view. As such, responsive layouts tend to follow certain geometries that collapse evenly and gracefully.
While this may seem a drawback, the benefits of having your content easily accessible on any device is hard to argue against. While the loss of control is felt in some areas, the emphasis on your content remains the same (and even more important): quality and clarity. Modern layouts aim to “get out of the way” of the content, providing maximum screen real estate for the information visitors have come to find. As screens continue to diversify, the demands of responsive layouts will increase. New technologies on the horizon— such as flexible and foldable displays— will require more scalable content architectures. And as browsers evolve, so too will the creative options.
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