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What is a Responsive Design Website? What are its advantages / limitations?

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RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN 2Mobile browsing is the new trend now. The ability to always have an internet ‘on-the-go’ excites everyone – children and adults alike. .  It is therefore of no surprise that it is taking over in internet usage.

Pew Research Centre (2012) reveals that 28% of internet usage comes from mobile phones; it also projects mobile internet usage to completely overtake desktop by 2014 – affirming the foreseeable dominance of mobile browsing in the near future.

Even with all the convenience that mobile browsing provides, it also has its own problems. For instance, how many times have you been denied access to websites simply because the page was ‘too large to load’? Well, I have experienced it several times, and it is always very frustrating to say the least –now this is where RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN comes in handy.

Responsive Web Design (RWD) is simply a web design developed to adapt to the screen of any device. This means it has the ability to fit to screens of desktops, laptops, tablets, hybrids and even that of smart phones. The following are some advantages of RWD:

It improves web page accessibility: Through the introduction of Responsive Web Design, companies can now create mobile versions of their websites to enable easy access to their contents through the use of mobile phones.

It enhances mobile browsing experience: The RWD used in creating mobile websites ensures that features are strategically arranged to suit mobile screens in order to make browsing simpler and less stressful.

It also reduces data consumption: Mobile browsing usually involves data usage. This means the larger the web page the more data is used. Larger web pages contain lots of images; and it takes significant amount of data to load. Mobile versions however, consume less because the interface is usually straightforward.

However, all is not so rosy with RWD. There are some limitations that one should also consider before buying into the adaptive web design;

It is not economical: It is a cost that could be easily avoided. In the sense that, it costs a lot to create a website, so it would seem as a waste of cash to also spend on a mobile version considering that both websites would be displaying similar content.

It does not display all features: Since the screen of the mobile phone is very small; it is improbable to display exactly everything that can be found on the actual web page. So features are strategically arranged to ensure that the most relevant ones appear. Therefore, one can say that the features of the Responsive Web Design differ from device to device, and it is not exactly the same as it promises.

In conclusion, RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN is truly making a difference in mobile browsing in particular, and browsing in general –as it was intended. Of course it‘s not perfect; but its limitations should not ensure or lead to failure; rather it should be seen as a room for improvement.  Mobile browsing seeks to dominate internet usage in the coming years; and RWD would definitely have a part to play.




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