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Responsive web design is the middle path

Responsive Website Design

Key Takeaways from the Mobile Developer Summit 2015 Conference in Bangalore (2/5)

Responsive web design is the middle path

Hello there, it is me again, with another episode of what we learnt at the Mobile Developer Summit 2015 Conference in Bangalore. Apologies for the late post but it is a sign that we have a lot on our plate at Gaja. (I hope my boss is reading this)

What is responsive web design (RWD)?

I have been hearing this term quite a lot in the last few years with all of us getting more and more hooked to our phones. Scott Davis, the web and software development veteran and a very funny guy, described responsive web design using a Bruce lee quote which was very apt in this case.

“…be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”  Bruce lee

 The Gaja mobile team with Scott Davis, on the extreme left, and with the other speakers at MODS.

And this is exactly what RWD is, says Scott! (Five minutes into his keynote, and you didn’t know if he was a tech guru or a standup comedian, but the crowd was mesmerized) It is adapting your website content and design to the device you are accessing it from. If you see the website on your desktop, the content “becomes” the desktop. If you see it in your tablet, the content “becomes” your tablet. If you see it in your mobile phone, then it “becomes” that device as well. Simply put, your web site can be broken down into smaller chunks, some elements can be resized or hidden and the content can be rearranged on the page to fit any screen on any device. So depending on the resolution, the website will adapt to the device on its own and reduce the time you spend breaking your head on how to cater to your entire user base. Be responsive, my friend…

One design to rule them all

Yes, with responsive design in the house, you do not need different sites for different devices. That time and effort you were going to use to maintain your m.site.com, or your mobile app, you can now all channel it to make one better looking website which will give the same experience to your end user no matter what device they are using.

Responsive design also makes you think in a different way. You have to understand that it is now “one web, many screens” (shamelessly plagiarized from Scott Davis’ presentation). You will have to think lean design, you will have to only keep the important elements on your website. Forget those old and heavy sites and embrace the trend of making stylish yet highly scalable ones.

It is not the strongest of the sites that survive but the most responsive

Have you done a google search on your mobile phone recently? The top results will be the mobile friendly sites. Yes it is a catch 22 situation, you don’t have a responsive site, google doesn’t rank your site very highly in their search results, you don’t get many views, and you don’t make money to make your site responsive. So better get started with it straight away.

 

Mobile-Friendly-responsive-webOf course depending on your budget and your strategy, a responsive website design is not the only thing to focus on. If you can afford it, you can also invest in a mobile application. But making your site responsive is the bear minimum in today’s world. At Gaja, we have been noticing that by default all our clients want a responsive site which has 5 break points (1 for desktop, 2 for tablet portrait & landscape and 2 for Mobile Portrait & landscape). Sometimes, depending on the application or the site, we can skip the tablet version and use the desktop view in the tablet as well. But again it all depends on your strategy. You can get in touch with our teams to discuss the best strategy for your site.

And this trend applies for B2C as well as B2B sites and applications. If you have been having a seamless experience shuttling from your desktop at work to your mobile on the bus then to your tablet at home, people around you have been working hard to make you a happy customer: they have invested in a responsive web design. Don’t you think it was worth it?

 

What you need to know: make your site responsive now

So what did the Gaja team learn in Scott Davis’s keynote. Nothing new actually. We only got a validation that a responsive web design is indispensable and is the bare minimum for any web strategy. It is the middle path between having different sites for different devices and having one site to focus on only one set of customers. With responsive web design we can get the best of both the worlds and be like water. Cool and calm (as long as there are no bugs!).

Stay tuned for my next post on an invasion which you cannot escape (hint: we will talk about the Internet of things). And do comment below if you have something to add on responsive web design or mobile website designs.

 

Vincent Naveen │International Project Manager 

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