Until recently, if you wanted a public website to be easily viewed on a mobile device, software developers would need to spend additional time writing code to specifically meet the varying standards on devices such as the Apple family of products (iPhone, iPad, etc.), the Android platform, the Windows Mobile platform or others. In essence, to make a “mobile version” of your website, repetitive coding activities would need to be completed to ensure correct sizing, navigation, content, etc. was available across these various mobile platforms.
CIO.com estimates that more than 1 Billion mobile devices will be online by 2013, which poses the question of how well does your company’s public facing website render on the leading Android, Apple and Windows Mobile platforms. A poorly rendered website (on a mobile device) could equate to lost business and lost revenues.
Clients, today, understand the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) when planning the creation of a customer facing website, but they should also be giving attention to the concept of Responsive Web Design. Responsive Web Design (RWD) is a coding practice whereby a software developer/designer can design a website to dynamically adapt to the screen sizes of devices by automatically resizing and reformatting the various elements of the site. In layman’s terms, your website content is the “liquid,” and the device you are using to view the content is the “container” – the liquid automatically takes the shape of the container when being viewed. For an example of Responsive Web Design in operation, visit www.cqlcorp.com (click the link, then resize your browser window, watch everything rearrange). Responsive Web Design utilizes one base of code (along with other elements such as CSS3, HTML5, etc.) to eliminate the need for developers and designers to code to specific devices.
So, your question might be why isn’t every website written with RWD, in mind. Well, similar to design decisions needing to be made regarding SEO, developing a site to RWD standards might increase the amount of work a developer/designer needs to do during the coding process (i.e., it might cost more on the front end to develop), however it can also lead to a much better experience for the end-user, and therefore the cost justifies the strategic benefit on the back-end.
As a customer, you need to ask your web development team about their knowledge and experience in utilizing Responsive Web Design. With the onslaught of mobile devices in coming years, you do not want to be stuck offering up a website that cannot be properly viewed by a user.