August 07, 2012
Responsive design has been the subject of both praise and criticism in the web UI design community in recent news. Whether one approves of or disagrees with the notion of responsive design, there is some wisdom in the idea of creating a single website for browsing on any device.
The basis of responsive design comes from the idea of simplifying web GUI design so that a desktop computer, tablet or mobile phone can all view the same website in the same way. This allows a business to create a single site that is equally usable for any visitor, while keeping costs down and increasing user satisfaction.
According to Econsultancy, there are five primary considerations that have to be put into effect by any developer when creating a responsive website. From the architecture of information to the cost of design, these aspects can help a business deploy a successful responsive website.
One of the most popular trends in online marketing today, search engine optimization (SEO) is a useful tactic to remember when developing a responsive website. Responsive design is often pitched as a form of mobile SEO, but according to the news source, it is not a replacement for keywords and proper optimization for Google and Bing. While search engines appreciate responsive design and are able to preview and read it better, a site still needs to approach online marketing with precision and accurate keywords that help users find it.
2. Information architecture
Additionally, responsive design is also not a replacement for providing information architecture (IA). A company needs to remember to implement IA through its responsive design in order to maximize the benefits. IA provides users with easy site navigation in a way that allows them to find what they are looking for conveniently, without negatively affecting design. Without designing a site around the information it is intended to provide, a business will alienate users and ultimately drive down traffic.
When developing with responsive design, a business also needs to keep cost in mind. While responsive design is a useful tactic to reduce web design costs, a business needs to remember to still invest the money for a high-quality site. Just because it is saving money on the overall design doesn't mean it is a cheap process. Creating a good website is a long-term investment that can pay for itself when done properly.
Possibly the most important aspect of web design, responsive or not, is that it maintains functionality. Regardless of how the site looks on mobile devices and desktop machines, it has to work perfectly for users or it will ultimately fail. For any business, website functionality depends on two things - users' ability to find what they are looking for, and the actual code used to develop the site. Ensuring all aspects of the site, from the GUI design to links and user input sections, are working properly is just as important as having a site that looks nice on any screen size.
According to the news source, responsive design is also not a replacement for the expertise that a professional designer provides. As an emerging practice, the decision to implement responsive design actually further necessitates the need for expert web design guidance. Any business looking to implement a responsive website should find a developer who matches up with its ideas and plans for its image on the web, and also has the knowledge to accomplish those goals.