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Responsive design & mobile design

By Dan Mitchell on June 06, 2013

You’d be forgiven for thinking that responsive design and mobile design are the same — but they’re not. Yes, responsive design does create websites so that they both respond to a browser’s size and are mobile-friendly, but responsive design really is whole web design. The problem with referring to this web design approach as mobile design is that it’s inherently limiting, which does a disservice to the approach itself. The most effective responsive websites may be viewed as they were meant to be, across a range of resolutions. This includes everything from the usual screen size of 1024×768 pixels to the larger screens, 1920×1080 and everything in between. Sites like these also look splendid on tablets (both retina and standard displays), as well as on smartphones. If a web designer looks at responsive design solely through the context of mobile, then he’s potentially missing out on a broader user experience. At the same time, mobile is a really opportune starting point for the entire responsive design discussion. It’s been the norm to begin with a mobile scheme and then expand this design to additional sizes as a responsive website is developed. Lots of designers believe it’s simpler to grow visuals rather than to minimize them. Responsive design has been around for a few years now its certainly not going away any time soon, mobile browsing will overtake traditional desktop browsing over the next year, in fact in some countries such as China this is already the case so if you are debating what your strategy is going to be you need to react now before your competitors do.