Responsive web design is a way of making a single website that works effectively on both desktop browsers and the myriad of mobile devices on the market. Responsive architecture gives the best quality browsing experience – whether on a smartphone, tablet, netbook or e-reader, and regardless of the operating system.
It takes a lot of extra effort—more thoughtfulness, structure, and development—so is responsive web design really worth it? Do its benefits outweigh its costs? Is it right for your organization? The answer to all three questions is a resounding “yes.”
Responsive web design, simply put, is the act of creating device-neutral pages that do not require separate development and configuration on each new device.
So, what does that mean from a project management perspective? Responsive web design certainly takes more time. Layout planning requires more thought—elements like the amount of text and the simplicity of navigation must be considered—and the final product must honor the ergonomic limits of what the human eye is comfortable seeing. Testing efforts are also heightened, with constant check-ins to ensure that responsive sites function as intended. For clients, this means higher costs and longer lead times up front.
But those are just short-term costs. Over the long-term, organizations that opt for responsive web design will find themselves well-equipped to shore the ebbs and flows of device-driven markets. They will also avoid the costs of maintaining and updating multiple web sites that have been separately optimized for individual formats.
There’s another benefit to responsive web design. It breaks the monotony of a singular layout, letting users experience your site differently from one visit to the next. The dynamic nature of the design forces management teams to decide not how each page should look but rather which content is most important. This exercise alone may keep leaders—and users—on the critical path.