Eavesdropping on our Developers: Why Responsive?

If you follow our Top Draw blog, you’ll notice that mobile/responsive design has become quite a hot topic. In fact, if you hang around our office, you’ll hear the word “responsive” several times a day. Recently, Mark shared a link to an awesome article talking about the reasons why responsiveness is important.

We thought we’d share some of the email conversation of our development team’s response to the article. A little eavesdropping, you might say…

You see, there are still a few people who think that responsive design is a fad and that mobile browsers can render a traditional site “just fine”, so “why bother”. To that point, building a site that responds to different resolutions is more work, but we believe it’s worthwhile because it elevates the user experience from “just fine” to “works like a dream”. After all, at the end of the day, isn’t your website all about your users?

Brad Frost made a lot of excellent points in his blog post, but the key takeaway is this:

Responsive design is the real deal. It is not a fad. It’s a legitimate attempt to address the massive challenge of delivering great experiences to this explosion of devices and browsers.”

Nick, one of our SEO/web experts:

“Interesting read. I think the part he didn’t touch on directly is the benefit of managing only one site/property. Having multiple templates and domains increases the energy involved in maintaining cohesion. There’s also the concern of spreading your site’s search engine authority between domains… Paradigm-wise, though, I think this article makes a really valuable point.”

To this, Ivan, one of our developers, responded:

“Interesting read, and one of the reasons why I usually refer to responsiveness instead of responsive web design. The design is just part of the deal, the other is how to make it perform well on different devices.

Even when devices are getting pretty fast now, mobile data still doesn’t cut it for most people… One of my concerns is what is acceptable as a mobile page load…”

Karim, our Director of Development then piped in:

“I do agree that optimizing site speed makes for a better experience, regardless of whether or not a site is responsive. Frost’s counter to doing *just* that makes a whole lot of sense, which is why we are utilizing responsive design so heavily.

The statement below highlights one of the things we focus on. That’s why we actively plan out what user experience is like in all resolutions and figure out what content/calls to action need to have the most priority for the client, particularly on the smaller screens.”

‘As we talked further, I found that we actually agreed. We’re concerned with creating a good user experience and achieving content parity, regardless of technique. Yes we should be thinking flexibly. Yes we can use the principles of responsive design to achieve this. But we’re not using those techniques for the hell of it. We’re using them to take the experience to the next level.’

Want to join in the conversation? What do you think?

(By the way, in case you’re wondering…a responsive Top Draw website is in the works! Stay tuned.)