Why you should scrap mobile apps and go with responsive design

Responsive design won’t make you invisible, or paranoid, but it’s still pretty powerful.

Since the iPhone hit the market, there have been countless cries from consumer advocates preaching the importance of going mobile.

And it is important, sort of. It’s not the sort of thing you should rush into. It’s not a baby with the bathwater sort of thing (meaning, if you have a design that your clients love, changing for the sake of mobile is a bad idea). It’s not the sort of thing you should do without careful consideration at all.

That said, there will come a time where we all have to make a choice. When that time comes, when it’s time to make that choice, you’d be mad not to factor in mobile. In my opinion, you’d be mad to consider anything other than responsive design.

Why go responsive

Let’s say you decide, for some reason, to go with a mobile app. You would need, in this global climate, at least two apps (Android & Apple), plus your website. You would need to, through some mechanism, interrupt the user experience to direct people to the app. You also need to optimize your app for tablets. It’s an extensive, and to do it right, expensive proposition.

Responsive, on the other hand, is exactly that. It responds to the device on which it’s being viewed. One ring to rule them all.

That said, the choice to go with a responsive website is one fraught with design dangers. There’s no standard for responsive language, each of the frameworks on the market uses it’s own CSS selectors, which means once you go down a particular road, you’re committed to taking that path (or to starting from scratch with something new). You can’t easily mix frameworks (or, rather, you wouldn’t want to), and they’re not at all interchangeable. It’s not the road through Mordor or anything, but nor is it a decision to be taken lightly.

I’ve chosen Foundation by Zurb for responsive development, for example, because it plays nicely with WordPress and I like the default templates they provide (in addition to other toys on the Zurb playground like the Raptorize kit), but that’s not to say that any other framework wouldn’t be just as suitable.

Are you ready for the responsive revolution?  Tell us all about it, we’d love to hear from you.

Sean Enns

Sean Enns is a marketing professional who started in marketing and sales in 1997. In 2004, he began his career in search engine optimization and corporate communications.

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