What is Responsive Design?

"Elegant, accessible and versatile websites that publish across multiple devices…"

  • CLIENT TFIA
  • COMPLETED NOV 2011
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Accessible. Responsive. Impressive. TFIAs newly released website is a love-child of responsive design.

Article: What is Responsive Design… and what does it mean for your business?

If you haven’t heard of the term ‘responsive design’ before, take note — you will soon hear a lot more about it. It is a concept that has already received its fare share of discussion, from both the code and design sides of the fence.

“But what is responsive design and how might it be of use to me?”
As this year marks the first time when mobile phones and tablets are now outselling PC’s, it’s become even more paramount your website can be viewed on more than just your standard desktop.

In an age where new platforms and products are released every day, the question has been asked about the feasibility for developers to continue to produce unique versions of one site for each device. It is time consuming to produce numerous sites — let alone populate them and maintaining numerous platforms.

This is where the concept of ‘responsive design’ comes into play.

In a nutshell, Responsive Design (RD) refers to a design methodology for websites and other digital communications, where the layout is designed to morph across various platforms. So whether you’re viewing a site on your mobile, tablet or browsing from your PC, the site will adjust to suit the viewing size and orientation of your screen.

This is done by re-flowing, resizing and restructuring various sections of content within the layout. However responsive design requires designers be more selective of content and consider information hierarchy more carefully up-front. Therefore all responsive sites must be built by first considering mobile. In this way, RD allows for designers to produce one single site — which adapts to all platforms.

Previously, the only option was to build websites and applications to suit the product. Businesses were paying big bucks for numerous versions of their websites; iPhone apps and Android apps, tablets, desktop computers and of course — the various other smart phones that are beginning to flood the market.

Another benefit of RD is the usability factor for the viewer. Opening a full desktop version of a website on a mobile device can result in some serious latency (lag time). A responsively designed site produces a mobile site that is optimised for mobile viewing.

Responsive design not only solves some of the ongoing logistical issues of supporting multiple devices, but also provides reassurance by provisioning for future products as well. This is why responsive design has become such an exciting discussion.

Of course, any new technology or approach to development will have its critics. There are those that believe that people like the familiarity of the standard desktop view — and don’t appreciate an altered or cut down version of their normal viewing site. Its is also thought that designing for mobile first will result in the viewing experience being reduced to a stripped down one.

But responsive design offers a solution to so many compatibility issues that will only become more expansive as new products are introduced into the market.
The movement to RD is slowly taking shape within the tech-world, but uptake in Australia has not been as prominent and is being driven by some of the more forward thinking digital agencies.

Some exciting examples of responsive design are coming out of Melbourne digital agency, Square Circle Triangle (SCT) including The Council of Textiles & Fashion Industries Australia (TFIA).

The newly released TFIA website is the love-child of responsive design

Brad Smith — SCT’s Creative Director, believes that responsive design is an ideal meeting between UI design, technology and efficiency.  “We’re creating elegant, accessible and versatile sites that publish across multiple devices — while our clients need only pay once and populate once.”

Digital Designer at SCT, Nathan Davis thinks responsive design is the way forward. “SCT is in the an enviable position to be at the forefront of this exciting and developing trend. The challenges presented in creating responsive web designs are far outweighed the benefits… responsive will become the direction the entire web design industry moves in.”

 

Testimonial

"We’re using BlocksGlobal™ to drive our main promotional strategies. It is a powerful communication tool to engage the TCF sector, build momentum, create ideas worth talking about, immerse ourselves in the conversations around the various platforms, and unite a fragmented sector. BlocksGlobal™ gives us the flexibility and scalability to be able to do that. It’s very user-friendly and the simplicity of its tools belie a sophisticated program.”

Jo Kellock — CEO Council of Textile & Fashion Industries of Australia