The Pros and Cons of Responsive Web Design
By: Lauryn Jashinsky
Responsive web design is making headlines every day. 2013 is predicted to be the year of responsive design. Well-known companies like Sony, Microsoft, Disney, Starbucks, and more have chosen to implement responsive web design. So what is all of this fuss about? One must ask himself or herself the question, “Is responsive design right for me?” Although I cannot answer that question for you, I can offer you some pros and cons of using responsive design.
• Less Maintenance: Responsive design allows you to create one site that is responsive to all of the different sized screens out there. This differs from the current practice of creating completely different sites for each screen size. Since responsive design has all of the code for all of the sites in one central area, it is much easier to make adjustments with responsive design than having to go into each separate site to make the necessary changes.
• Improved SEO: With a responsive design site, there is only one URL, which is not the case if you create each site separately. Your SEO will not become diluted with all of the different URL’s, helping to improve your SEO.
• Better User Experience: The responsive design is designed to maximize the user’s experience. Users find it much easier to navigate and use sites that are customized for the device they are using.
• Social Sharing: If someone on a desktop computer shares a link to a website that doesn’t have responsive design with someone on a mobile device, the mobile user will not get the same experience the desktop user had. The mobile user will open up the link to a website that was made for a desktop, not a mobile device. Responsive design solves this problem. The link sent to the mobile phone would become responsive to that device.
• Web Analytics/ Tracking: As mentioned with SEO, responsive design uses a single URL. Instead of analyzing the data produced from different URL’s, a single URL makes tracking your website much easier.
• New Devices: New devices with different screen sizes are continually being created. With responsive design, you do not need to worry about creating a whole new website every time a new screen-sized device is introduced into the market.
• Google Endorsed It: “Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design.”
• Technical Difficulty: Responsive design is very new and still developing. It comes with its own rules and techniques. Responsive design will continue to develop and adjust as it is used more and more.
• Implementation: Implementation can take longer than expected. As this is a new concept, there is still little familiarity with problems you may encounter.
• Limited Resources: Once again, this is a new concept. You may find it difficult to find someone who can offer you the option of responsive design (Psst. We do!).
• Load Time: Images commonly are just simply scaled down, instead of being resized. This negatively impacts the load time of a page.
What are your thoughts on responsive web design? Do you think that 2013 will be its year? If you have any questions or comments, please let us know below!
About the Author
Lauryn is currently a member of the 2014 class at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, pursuing her undergraduate degree in Marketing and eventually her Masters in Business Administration. In her free time, Lauryn enjoys running, biking, baking, painting, and fishing.