As the Internet evolves, websites are being introduced to a new user interface design called Responsive. This new wave of technology allows websites to adjust to the user’s experience, maximizing its efforts for performance, interaction, and an experience created by the screen or device they are using.
While, these are only a few characteristics for the functionality of responsive designs, it was a new trend for 2013 and hopefully it’s not too late for you to transition. More and more people are using digital devices; therefore to have a responsive website is a no brainer. Since last year, “mobile traffic grew 70 percent and reached 885 petabytes per month.” Without a doubt, the use of mobile and table devices are rapidly growing for consumers. Almost everyone now is using a smartphone and companies should really understand the benefits of using a responsive website. As we continue to discuss these emerging techniques of improving websites, responsive designs will advance mobile capabilities and allow users to experience enhanced information on multiple platforms.
Responsive is built on a fluid grid and uses media queries as breaking points for content to fluctuate when the browser is scaled up or down automatically. Unlike other structures, being able to have a single design that fits all sizes is optimal for creating a user-friendly experience. Adjusting the browser size and content isn’t all a responsive website is made to do. A responsive website should enhance a user’s experience, you probably don’t realize it, but some of the features on your smartphone help websites become responsive. With the help of sensors, it can “tell us about the user’s context and environment around – they inform use of their situation, enabling us to tailor the experience to better suit their circumstances.” Sensors are the future of responsive because they will be able to familiarize the user’s context and environment and even taking the experience to the next level.
Although responsive websites are at an early stage right now, it will only take time and collaboration until it reaches it’s full potential. As more and more companies move toward a responsive design, they will be challenged with a variety of “core tactics” that make up the basic attributes of being responsive. These critical attributes that are found in a responsive design include breaking points, page loading times, and image size optimization. In order to create and effective responsive website, the performance from each of these attributes needs to be optimal for any browser or device. So you might ask yourself, “How do we approach this new interface?”
Luke Wroblewski introduces us to a strategy called “Mobile First” which ensures that designers start their design approach through mobile devices first rather than the full desktop version. By doing this, we are able to establish the necessary components that become relevant on a mobile device to create a better user experience. As this new trend continues to develop, who knows what else 2014 will bring to the table for responsive. If you already have a responsive website, great, there is always room to improve. However, if you are just learning about this, you may need to catch up before you fall behind.