Change is inevitable. To resist is to give up on progress and the future. This is true in life and in work. Once you get stuck in your ways then you might as well move over to the slow lane so everyone else can pass you up.
Well, it’s that time again. It’s time for change.
The rise of mobile browsing has made it so. Now, not only do we have to worry about how a site will look on the various browsers on a home or office computer, we have to be aware of how it will look on any number of phones and tablets. Yeah most smart phones will render a site as it is actually supposed to look but it may not be the most functional or accessible site. What’s the point of a good looking site if no one can or will interact with it? These days, websites are not so much about getting to know a vendor as it is about interacting with that vendor in some way.
Well, this time around, the community is prepared. This time web developers can rejoice that we are not looking at another several-year window waiting for an outdated pariah to go away and stop ruining our sites. Responsive web design and development is the future and it is ready now.
I’m sure you’ve all heard about responsive web design. Even clients are asking about it. It’s become the new buzz. A responsive web site can detect what it is being viewed on and will adjust itself to offer the optimum viewing experience. Usually this means that if you pull up a site on you smartphone, then the navigation will get larger while the imagery gets smaller. A site will be able to tell if your tablet is in portrait or landscape position and then render itself to accommodate that viewing experience.
This is not a tutorial. I’m not going to give you lots of examples of a responsive web site in action. I will give you one, though. If you have a smartphone, tablet, and PC all handy then check out http://www.bostonglobe.com. This is a great example of a site taking advantage of its real estate. Trust me, just as we laugh at pre-web 2.0 sites as being ugly and tacky, we will be judging sites on how they look on our phones. People will simply skip over your site without reading a single word if it renders all tiny on someone’s iPhone. Zooming will not be an acceptable solution. Zoom in to make the van big enough to click on and you will see nothing else on the site without panning all over the place. Too much effort.
Responsive web design will pretty much end all that. Yeah, it’s going to take longer to build a site than it did before. But think of the time you will save yourself in the future trying to find a way to make as many of your potential clients have a good site experience no matter what device they are on at the time.
I will point you to two great places to get started:
1) Foundation bills itself as the most advanced responsive front-end framework in the world. Sites using this framework include: Pixar and National Geographic. They have lots to offer for those with lots to learn.
2) Bootstrap is Twitter’s popular HTML framework. Need I say more?
Well, there you have it. The future has been revealed. Even this old guy here knows it’s time to move forward. Join us in the fast lane as we make our way to the next great thing….