Here at General Things we are in the business of developing elegant and efficient web-based software. We are constantly incorporating new technologies and methodologies into our practice and subsequent customer recommendations. We spend so much time designing software for clients that we tend to ignore our own website. Then the spirit moves us, we decide that we need a revamp, and suddenly our UX/UI designer has her hands full as she performs several furious iterations to satisfy a team of perfectionists: us.
One of the main concepts that we are working to incorporate on generalthings.com is responsive web design (RWD). RWD requires a slightly new way of thinking that we encourage all of our clients to embrace, as we believe that it is integral to the future of web design. In the world of web design, and in stark contrast to the world of print design, one size does not fit all. People access the Internet from devices of all different shapes, sizes, resolutions, orientations, and capabilities. Using RWD, the designer can control the appearance of a layout over many screen sizes without sacrificing the readability of the content or the quality of the design.
As a designer or developer you have no way of knowing the final screen size on which your design is going to be consumed, so it is better to understand this constraint from the beginning and to see it as an opportunity that you can use to your advantage. Developers usually implement RWD by using CSS3 media queries to determine features and by setting the sizes of screen elements using relative proportions. Thierry Koblentz, as published in Smashing Magazine, discusses the importance of applying RWD by controlling sizes through media queries instead of presupposing the size of the output device.
RWD is vital because it controls how your business is perceived by customers. The advent of tablets and smartphones and the explosion of mobile devices as primary computing devices for millions of people means that these markets cannot be ignored. As always, good design is good business, and good design now means responsive design.
As a result, we continue to advocate RWD for our clients and now for ourselves. Take a look at how your own website is represented across different devices using Responsinator. Leave us a comment below or on Facebook to tell us what you think. And if your business is in need of flexible, responsive web design, get in touch – we can help!