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Responsive Web is the New Black

Recently, Domain7 made a bold decision.

We've been talking about the centrality of the mobile web for a long time, and it was time to put our media queries where our mouth is. Domain7 is now actively developing every new site responsively, and responsive design is a standard offering on every proposal we put out.

Responsive websites are built on a flexible grid that shifts and adapts, depending on the device used to access it. A responsive site will scale just as gracefully for a smartphone as it does for a tablet or a desktop browser, and the user will never have to pinch, pull, or scroll to the right. It negates the need for a separate mobile site and means you only need to develop your site once, for all platforms.

In the last few weeks we've launched four responsive sites. Resize your desktop browser window to see the layout change depending on the width of the browser window.

Responsive web design is quickly gaining a following as one of the most practical, expedient and economical ways of building a site that is both backward compatible and future-proof.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)—the web standards organization—held its first developer conference in November 2011. Notice that the conference site, featuring major sponsors, Microsoft, AT&T, Adobe, and Nokia, features a responsive design.

For designers, one of the most exciting aspects of this approach is the prospect of leaving old Internet Explorer behind. Because of the proliferation of browsers and devices, the expectation that a website should look the same in every browser is highly unrealistic and practically impossible. Given that reasoning, it makes more sense to design a site to use the latest features of modern browsers, yet still provide an experience for older browsers which is appropriate to the capabilities of that browser.

To ensure this approach works well, regardless of the device, the focus becomes quality content that meets the needs of your audience: simplify, streamline and adapt.

  • Simplify and focus on key messages and user actions
  • Streamline content to optimize load times
  • Adapt the layout across a wide range of devices

Responsive web design represents a sea change in the way the web industry engages in building and designing sites. The change is akin to the adoption of web standards when everyone was building Flash sites and table-based layouts.

We used to talk of separate “mobile” and “desktop” sites. Now we talk about responsive sites and the open web platform. When you see a well designed responsive web site, you realize that it not only makes sense, it changes everything.