Is responsive design always the best solution?

2 min read

Responsive web design, London front end developerResponsive web design is a hot topic in digital circles these days. A great solution for those viewing sites on mobile devices, for example, as responsive design enables websites to adjust according to the user’s screen resolution, thanks to some pretty nifty developments. Some may consider this the answer to all modern development challenges, but there are some issues we still need to consider. Should every website strictly be responsive?

The main reason for responsive design is to make the browsing experience easier and more effective for the end user. Trying to shrink an entire website into the screen space of a small mobile device can be a challenge. Browsing through the website becomes difficult, and the user will have to continually zoom in and out. A responsive site automatically adjusts the layout and information to facilitate easy browsing, thereby enhancing the user experience, and hopefully leading to more conversions.

Sounds like a ‘no brainer’, right? But there are those who believe that dedicated mobile sites still have their place. Creating a separate site for mobile devices can eliminate issues such as heavy Javascript elements and large image files that slow down the website’s loading process excessively. For example, a massive photography site with large videos and images, might not be the best candidate for responsive design. Trying to serve up all that content and overloading the mobile phone browser can become a headache for the user. A lot of people are using 3G and have still have caps on their internet usage, and the whole process will be slow and frustrating. A dedicated mobile site, in this case, can keep you in the visitor’s good books.

Another thing to consider, is that users may become confused by the number of different versions of the website. What if they wanted to find something specific they saw on their PC which now can’t be found when viewing the site on their iPad?

So, what is the solution? Trendy or not, responsive design is something that should (or shouldn’t) be implemented according to the needs of the user. With some good planning and an understanding of how and when people are browsing your site, you can make the best decision as to how to go about building your website, and create something that keeps visitors coming back for more.

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