As mobile Internet usage increases, the landscape of the Internet is transforming into something new. Since most users today are accessing the web from a variety of different devices including mobile phones, desktop computers, and tablets, web designers have been responding by altering their strategies. Fixed-width websites, which do not adapt to the size of the device’s screen used to view them, are a thing of the past.
The way of the present and, arguably the future, is Responsive Web Design or RWD. RWD is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices including desktops, tablets, and mobile phones. However, there are still a lot of misconceptions about responsive design that I’d like to take a crack at debunking below.
Responsive Web Design is Only for Mobile Devices
It makes sense that people associated RWD with mobile design, but it doesn’t make sense when they claim it is ONLY for mobile devices. This is essentially the opposite of what is true. RWD is not a mobile design, tablet design, or desktop design. Rather, it is a design for all devices, using one code and one URL. It is not associated with any specific device. An RWD website automatically adapts to the device being used to view it, not just to mobile devices or tablets.
RWD is Expensive
Another misconception is that RWD websites are really expensive to create. While they may take a bit more time to design and the initial cost may seem high, RWD websites are not that much more expensive to create than any other type of website.
It’s Not Important to Switch to RWD Now
This is not true. More consumers than ever before are using mobile devices and tablets to browse the Internet. Companies that have not already made the switch to RWD risk turning these new mobile and tablet consumers away due to a poor user experience. If a mobile or tablet user cannot comfortably and easily navigate your website, they will likely become confused and bring their business to another website that is more friendly to the device they are using.
RWD, Paid Search, and SEO Aren’t Related at All
Wrong. In fact, Google prefers responsive websites. And when you think about paid ads, imagine if you clicked on one while browsing on your mobile device only to discover the site was not optimized for it.
Responsive Websites are Compatible With Any Browser
As nice as this would be if it was true, it isn’t. But don’t worry! RWD is compatible with all of the major browsers that the majority of consumers use, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer 9. Moreover, only browsers that support media queries support RWD. Since Internet Explorer 8 does not support media queries, which are responsible for adjusting images and video to the size of the device’s screen, it also does not support RWD.
RWD is Right For Every Website
Actually, RWD is good for some types of websites, but not so good for others. For example, if there is a heavy e-commerce presence on your website, then RWD is not for you. It is recommended that you design a separate mobile website.
There are a lot of myths and untruths about RWD floating around. Hopefully, this blog takes a small step towards putting a few of them to rest. Because when it comes to web design, it’s important to know the facts. That way, you can design a website that both suits your business and helps it reach its full potential.