When does a steady stream become a trend?
Early January tends to be the season for recapping the fads of yesteryear and making predictions for the months ahead. When it comes to web design and development, just about every list makes mention of something called “responsive web design.”
We’ve addressed the importance of mobile websites time and time again because for the past few years just about everyone has forecasted the steady increase in use of websites by mobile devices, such as smartphones.
Given that making one’s website mobile-optimized is a matter of when, not if, the next question becomes “How?”
That’s where “responsive web design” comes in.
There are two leading philosophies when it comes to making websites look good and function well on smartphone screens: either you create a separate, often smaller website that is built for fingers (not a mouse) to navigate or you create a single website that determines what kind of device is accessing it and displays the content in an aesthetically pleasing way. The latter method involves using responsive web design — or responsive design, for short.
In an earlier post, we reported the pros and cons of a separate microsite vs. responsive design and determined there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Sometimes circumstances call for a mobile-optimized microsite; other times, a single, responsive website is appropriate. (And there are other options as well, such as platform-specific mobile apps.)
In 2012 and early 2013, we were commissioned more often to augment existing desktop websites with a mobile-optimized microsite than to build responsive sites. As 2013 went on, however, we found that retrofitting a website with responsive design or creating a responsive site from scratch became the course of action we recommended more and more.
Here are a few of the websites that capitalize on responsive design:
- American Bank (www.ambank.com)
- Eden Meat Market (www.edenmeat.com)
- International Society for Preparedness, Resilience and Security (www.insprs.org)
- Signature Aviation Matting (www.signatureaviationmatting.com)
- St. Lawrence Seminary (www.stlawrence.edu)
- TGO Fishing (www.tgofishing.com)
Several responsive websites are currently in the works, and ongoing discussions with clients suggest we’ll be launching even more before the year is up.
We won’t go on record as declaring responsive websites to be the wave of the future, even if they are experiencing some popularity presently. We’ve always taken each project on a case-by-case basis, exploring the advantages and disadvantages of every option before making a recommendation that’s tailor-made for that particular client.
What we can say is that regardless of whether microsites, responsive sites or something new emerges as the winner of the mobile website debate, most companies have come to realize that people want what they want, when they want it — and that mobile web users seldom have the patience to poke around a website that isn’t mobile-friendly.
Therefore, we predict that BrownBoots will continue to work with existing and new clients to create websites that work wonderfully on desktop computers, tablets, smartphones — one way or another.
Need help making your website mobile-optimized? Call BrownBoots at 920-906-9175.