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Responsive Web Design: The Future of Mobile Web

responsive web design - the future of mobile web

The greatest problem with the idea of responsive designs is in the fact that it has tough competitors in trends such as adaptive design or even mobile first design. Both of these trends, although great in their narrow fields have some serious downsides that a responsive design more than makes up for. They are either too expensive to build or too complex to maintain. In some cases, they even stand to downgrade your SEO rank or ruin your user experience. With this in mind and without further ado, here are several reasons why responsive web design looks like it could become the future of mobile web.

The principles of RWD
Illustration by Stéphanie Walter

Why Responsive Web Design is the Future of Mobile Web:

1.  More flexible than adaptive

The most direct competitor to the responsive design is the so-called the adaptive design, which does, more or less, the same, but on a different principle. Unlike responsive design, which is made to adjust to the browser size, the adaptive website is designed with six different resolutions (screen sizes) in mind. In theory, it needs to recognize the device and display an ideal version for this particular screen size. When utilized properly, it gives an optimized user experience, yet, it has more than several downsides.

First of all, we have to talk about the future of the smartphone and tablet industry. Sure, current sizes may be standard and satisfactory at this point, however, who’s there to say that the next big thing in the mobile industry won’t be a device with a screen size halfway between a smartphone and a tablet? In this situation, the adaptive web design that you make for your brand may no longer satisfy your audience while the same isn’t likely to happen with a responsive design. All in all, responsive design is both more flexible and more scalable.

2.  More encompassing than mobile-first

In the world where the majority of people use their smartphones to browse the internet, grab these devices as soon as they wake up and check their emails only on phone, one might wonder wouldn’t it be better to simply go for a mobile-first website. Well, not necessarily. You see, computers and tablets still have higher conversion rates than smartphones, even though smartphones currently lead in offline sale generation. Therefore, neglecting a large portion of your qualified leads might not be the best of ideas.

Second, you need to understand that browsers aren’t exactly the tool of choice when it comes to B2C interaction in the world of mobile devices. Think about it, most customers, return customers or interested parties prefer to download an app as their channel of communication. In fact, about 89 percent of all time that people spend on the internet while on their phones is through apps. In other words, combining a mobile app with a responsive design is a much better alternative to believing that a mobile-first website can satisfy all your brand’s needs.

3.  Great ROI

Another thing that people commonly lose from the mind is the fact that responsive design gives you a great ROI. First of all, it helps you avoid making two different websites. Second, it helps you focus all your efforts towards a single task, which, boosts your efficiency at performing it. This means that you have more room in your budget for your website development. Needless to say, this opens up options for outsourcing to a specialized agency like GWM website design or hiring an in-house expert to tend to your site. Either way, by freeing up some of your resources, you stand to raise the quality of your service to a higher level.

4.  Avoiding dual websites

To some people, the idea of creating one website for mobile users and another for the desktop audience may seem like something logical, however, there are more than several difficulties that this system creates. First of all, a dual website means dual content, which is something that search engines aren’t particularly keen on. From the structural standpoint, two websites mean twice as much upkeep and maintenance, which is, on its own, a huge problem. With responsive design, you get a single website that requires a bit more work, seeing as how the code needs to be impeccable.

5.  Wearables

In some of the previous sections we hinted at the difficulty that unorthodox screen sizes present, however, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Namely, wearables like smart watches and glasses already have difficulty finding the right browser size for their specific needs. With responsive design, you can prepare your website even for resolutions like 272×340, which is a standard screen size for a device such as Apple Watch. Truth be told, the responsive solutions for such small screens aren’t at a satisfactory level. However, unless you want to invest in an adaptive screen for this format, as well, they are definitely the most suitable solution to your problem. After all, responsive designs are getting better and better with each passing day.

6.  Preparing for the future

Finally, the future of the internet may not be about screens (at least not in their traditional form) at all. Who knows, we might look at our browser through our VR goggles or observe it on the augmented windscreen of our car. Let’s face it, AR and VR are trends that are rapidly picking up. Sure, the number of people who use them on a daily basis is still ridiculously low compared to the number of people who are using their smartphones to browse the internet, yet, in just a couple of years, these things might change. Therefore, investing in responsive design and relying on it as your choice of appealing to mobile users is the right way to go.

In conclusion

As you can see, the responsive design may not be perfect, after all, mobile first is definitely better for mobile users while adaptive design gives a better device-specific experience. Nonetheless, when it comes to cost-efficiency, ROI ration and scalability, responsive web design still reigns supreme. With the rapid progress of devices and new trends emerging on a daily basis, it seems as if the future of mobile web never depended so much on responsive web design as it does today.

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