Evolution of Responsive Design – Where It’s Come and Where It’s Going

July 2, 2014In Web Design4 Minutes

Responsive design has come a long way since its inception in 2011. The idea didn’t catch on as quickly as mobile websites did, but today, it’s become the standard for designing and developing a website. The concept started with the ability to rearrange elements of your existing website to fit the best view experience for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Responsive web design is now going beyond this basic function.

Web developer working on the responsive web design
A web developer working on the responsive design

Companies offering responsive design services started to realize how important it was to optimize the websites they were working on. It’s one thing to display a great user experience for all devices, but getting these websites to perform similarly to the main website is another complete issue. That’s why there has been a lot of focus on optimizing smartphone and tablet versions of your website for both UX and conversions.

Another realization was how problematic loading could be for many users, particularly ones that didn’t have the best connection or best-performing device. Many large websites with multiple design elements faced this challenge. As a response, server-side components (RESS) are being used with client-side ones to provide faster loading time. It also serves as a way to deliver better layouts, which then improves the website’s UX.

It doesn’t end there. Designers have become aware that people use different types of browsers on their devices and devices of varying viewing screen sizes. Just like it’s important to ensure your desktop-optimized website displays correctly across all the major browsers and computer monitors, it’s important to ensure the responsive design remains consistent through various screen sizes and devices.

Responsive web design will continue to evolve even further. New features will detect whether or not the device or browser being used can view Flash. This will allow site owners to deliver media to users who can see it and provide alternatives for those who can’t. More browsers will also allow Flash to be seen, which will further help the ability to deliver media.

User testing of the responsive design on tablet interface
User testing of the responsive design on a tablet interface

There will be improvements in the promotion side of things as well. Using markups in search engine optimization (SEO) has many benefits. However, it is better to use different markups for different devices as the way it is seen in the search results will appear differently. Instead of using one markup for all website versions, markups will be optimized according to the device.

While there have been tremendous improvements to responsive design, there are still many ways to go. There are still inconsistencies in terms of columns, plug-ins, javascript and navigation menu accuracy. These problems can still be resolved with the proper redesign, but these problems do limit site options. Despite these minor flaws, responsive design is still the standard and will continue to improve at a fast rate. Eventually, they will make mobile websites obsolete and businesses will need to hire experienced designers and developers if they want the most out of the mobile age.

Person on their cellphone

Essential Mobile App Design Usability Factors

The goal of many mobile app designs is to create a system that speaks the language of the user, leveraging familiar concepts to deliver something that feels new and unexpected - even delightful. This can be challenging to accomplish but aligning…

Two users on a laptop engaging with AMP

UX Solutions: Determining If Your Website Can Benefit From AMP

In a marketplace where speed often equals performance, staying relevant across device with attention to mobile is critical. That’s why AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages has been met with such excitement. Site owners and marketers who want to remain…

Video recording test device

The Value of Video Testing for Usability

We all know the power of qualitative testing. Employing platforms to determine the best user experience and using focus groups to target the ideal user to manage the testing process can provide a valuable but all too 'hands-off' approach to…