With the vast and growing popularity of smart phones, tablets, and other mobile web devices, web designers have certainly had their hands full developing sites that will look great when accessed from any medium. Of course, you want your website to have a layout that is going to work well when viewed from either a desktop computer or a smart phone. In the past, this meant having to develop an entirely separate mobile site.
This trend is being replaced largely by responsive web design. Responsive web design is an innovative new design technique that is quickly gaining attention throughout the programming industry. Responsive web design, as you might expect, is a method of design by which the content actually responds accordingly to the device on which it is being accessed. So, when the site is accessed from a smartphone, the code is rendered differently than it would be if accessed from a traditional desktop web browser.
When using this responsive web design, the code only needs to be written one time, but it will be rendered in different ways depending on the browser through which it is viewed. For example, when the site is opened on a tablet, the text and images are automatically adjusted to accommodate the size and resolution of the screen and the navigation of the site is automatically simplified. This is all achieved without developing two separate sites.
This method of design is especially useful for smaller businesses that do not have the time or resources to have multiple sites designed or maintained for them. Instead, when a change needs to be made, it is made to one set of code, and that change will take affect on every version of the site immediately. This design technique has made it very simple for businesses to easily increase and maintain a strong mobile web presence.
While there are a large number of mainstream websites going the route of using responsive web design, it is not the perfect solution for all businesses. If you have a lot of complex features used throughout your site, they may or may not translate well to the mobile site. Another downside is that mobile users are unable to view the full site from their devices. However, for sites in which this is a non-issue, responsive web design will certainly be a major game changer in terms of going mobile with their sites.