Is Responsive Website Design for You? The Pros and Cons of Responsive Web Design

Ever since the evolution of mobile commerce, developers and designers have struggled to get content and design across to these devices while trying to overcome numerous complexities. This ranges from multiple operating systems, multiple devices, and multiple browsers along with a set of unreliable as well as error prone web standards. This aspect of web design and development has therefore become extremely challenging for designers as well as developers.

Though several solutions have been proposed, the one solution that seems to stand over the rest is Responsive Web Design (RWD). Although this method is not an end game solution, it is an incredibly powerful solution.

With the emergence of this technique, many developers and e-shop owners have jumped onto the Responsive Web Design bandwagon and have had their eCommerce websites go the Responsive Web Design way. Well, so far so good, Responsive Web Design is not the panacea for all ills. Hence, it becomes necessary to understand what Responsive Web Design is and what it is not along with the general challenges that have come to be associated with Responsive Web Design. Let us understand what Responsive Web Design is how it is best used.

Responsive Web Design utilizes per-existing technologies to achieve fluid design that can span from mobile device resolutions to tablet resolutions to desktop resolutions. This includes pretty much everything in between while maintaining the overall feel and them of the website. It is also browser based, hence it requires absolutely nothing extra to be used. As Responsive Web Design works by defining view ports, which are set resolutions, as the resolution is decreased, an element such as a banner will also be reduced in size. Thus, e-store owners have discovered that an element that is possibly of immense worth on a desktop screen might need to be discarded altogether for mobile or desktop viewers. So, although a banner might look good on a desktop screen, but on a mobile, it might be better without it at all. Hence, you could maintain a consistent theme across tablets, desktops, and smartphones/mobiles, however maintain slightly different content and layout for them.

However, the catch is that Responsive Web Design is still not perfect. It presents its own set of challenges as well as limitations. Many people are misinformed that it is an app or a mobile specific website. It is simply a technique that is based on pre-existing technologies such as CSS, HTML, as well as JavaScript. A particularly problematic area in Responsive Web Design is when working with fluid layouts. Since an entirely fluid layout is required, the resolution obtained is the nearest for those views that are obtained in between the pre-specified view ports. In most designs, it is impossible to keep the pixel design from one view port to the next.

Yet another practical problem with Responsive Web Design websites is testing. The time taken to test a responsive site is far longer than a conventional site. The site needs to be tested in all agreed upon browsers, devices, as well as resolutions. The modifications to the code in case bugs are found also depends results in additional development time as well as quality assurance time.

Responsive Web Design can also cause additional stress to the servers that cater to the site by loading more content than what is actually being viewed. This strategy of hide what you don’t need is very common in responsive web design. The risk is undertaken is very serious and needs to be considered constantly throughout the entire project. Many a times, more than one developer is needed to theme the website front-end. Additionally, the design technique is open a great deal of interpretation, as it can be interpreted in many ways. Several developers claim that they have not found a single approach that works perfectly for every project. Hence, you need to experiment and research to find out the approach that really works for your project.

To summarize, it must be understood that Responsive Web Design is a great tool, but it is one of the tools that is available to the designer or developer. It is strongly recommended that you do the necessary research before opting for Responsive Web Design for your website.

Harshal Mazmudar

Harshal is working as a digital marketing manager at Krish Technolabs, uses the web to drive online visibility and generate leads that have resulted in huge ecommerce success. His incessant hunger to outperform is the real drive that keeps him competitive in the online hemisphere.

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