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Pros and Cons of Responsive Web Design

First coined by Ethan Marcotte in 2011, the term Responsive Web Design is a concept that refers to an approach of designing a web page so that it responds to the user’s behavior, and opens on platforms and screens of any size. When a person types in the URL, or visits the site, the size of the screen being used is remotely sensed and the web page is optimized accordingly for comfortable viewing.


The three important tenets of this kind of web designing are: flexible images, fluid grids, and the Cascading Style Sheet- a programming language which governs the look of a Web page in the browser. By using fluid grids, the web designers can build a web page that can be displayed on devices and screens of every size. By using flexible images, the designer can customize the picture to display itself according to the size of the mobile screen.


CSS, or Cascading Style Sheet, allows the presentation of the text to be tailored for a variety of mobile browsers and tablet screens without making any alterations to the content. With the rapid rise of the mobile search engine, it is only an obvious move for businesses to optimize their website for mobile search and browsers. The number of people accessing the Internet is supposed to rise to 1.9 billion by the year 2015 and therefore small business are seeking to invest on developing and designing websites for mobile platforms which include Smartphones and tablet PCs.


The prime challenge that mobile web designing poses is the issue of adjusting the web lay out into the various screen spaces without sacrificing the theme, look and feel of the desktop version. Herein, the potency of Responsive web design techniques pays off! Responsive design can save you lot of time and effort of having to create different websites for different devices and makes your web layout easily conceivable at different screen resolutions. As you embrace responsive design, you are on the verge of accelerating your conversion rate.


With responsive web design, you are offering each user the unique opportunity to interact with your website no matter what devices they use. It enriches the user-experience and boosts your site’s credibility. However, responsive web designing has its own shortcomings too. Banks and businesses which develop their own apps for selling services and products often avoid the use of responsive web designing techniques as it imposes limitations on the flexibility and functionality of the website.


For instance, an app for mobile banking that allows customers to en-cash a check simply by taking its picture will not be supported by the grid layout of responsive designing. In an article for Forbes, Carin Vuuren, the chief marketing manager of Usablenet, wrote that responsive web designing is useful for those sites where the user consumes content like newspapers and magazines. However, this designing technique can be a hindrance in cases where the trader wants the client to use complex mobile apps to undertake business dealings. Responsive Web Design also increases the loading time of a web page to some extent.


This means you are risking it by putting the patience of your visitors to test. Running complex functions like buying services and products by using programming languages such as JavaScript, CSS and PHP requires heavy coding which is often not supported by the grid layout. There is an obvious change in the way people surf the web. More than 75% of US population access Internet through the mobile devices. Be it for social networking or locating a local business, mobile Internet has become an inseparable entity of modern civilization.


For the businesses, it has become the need of the hour to carve a mobile web presence and optimize their websites for the mobile search engines and browsers. However, it is equally important for them to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of responsive web design in lieu of the kind of visitor experience they would like to cater to.

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Sudeep Banerjee

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Sudeep Banerjee is the Founder & President of B3NET Inc., the leading Orange County Web Development firm, since 1999 in California. He is a forward thinking leader with expertise in Digital Marketing, Web Design and Mobile Application Development and Amazon Sales Consulting. He is an author, speaker and a consultant with 28 years of experience. He loves to play Basketball and Golf.