Bryan Hadaway's Blog
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To Make Responsive or Not to Make Responsive?

UPDATE – I’ve finally updated my blog to be responsive. Be sure to let me know if it sucks.

Over the past year or so, responsive has become a keyword that is simply on fire! I would go as far as to say that it transcends a mere fad and has moved on into obsession territory. The same obsession people have had over W3C Validation and PageRank, which I myself, fell victim to.

What I really have found myself asking lately is, is it just a fad, is it just an obsession, a viral word-of-mouth obsession, or, is it actually important?

First, those that do not know what “responsive” means, it’s simply a popular coined word for adaptive web design. The basic definition is that it’s web design that adapts to its environment on-the-fly without any redirects, to say, a mobile version of a website like (as was common in the past).

Contained within one stylesheet are percentages (as apposed to fixed pixels) and @media queries that allow a design to adapt to any device, laptop, iPhone, iPad etc without the need to side-scroll, zoom in and out, adjust font sizes or anything else that might distract you from the reason you’re visiting the site in the first place, its content.

That’s all great, you would think it’s a no-brainer, right? Well, not really. In some of the online communities I manage it has become apparent that many people are annoyed by responsive design and wish for their website (and assuming their browsing of other websites) to display as-is, static across all devices for creative and user-friendly reasons.

It seems that most smart phones and other mobile devices are so sophisticated now, have such rich features and resolutions that people would rather view full-featured websites instead of altered or possibly “dumbed down” responsive versions.

Is technology surpassing the need for responsive design? Will it be obsolete in a few years?

I’ve just redesigned this very blog you’re reading now and I’ve already designed it as a responsive website, but I’ve currently disabled it because I’m simply on the fence the more I think about it.

Unfortunately, I really do not have a full perspective on the issue because I don’t use a smart phone, iPad or similar myself nor am I even interested. So, I could use your help. Please participate in the following poll and be sure and add more info and your opinions in the comments below:

Websites: Responsive or NOT Responsive?

View Results

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Thanks for reading, Bryan

  • ColinK

    When building a new site I think in most cases Responsive is probably the way to go. In fact you are currently helping me build a new iFeaturePro responsive site.

    For many businesses (ie local businesses that want people to call, or visit), the focus on the new site needs to be Mobile First, ie build a responsive site but do it in a way where mobile visitors get the best experience.

    For many businesses (including those above) it is just too much work and too costly to build a new responsive site, therefore a separate dedicated mobile site (probably a fast loading straight HTML / PHP site) on a m.domain sub directory.

    The mobile site does not try to serve all content from the desktop site. A mobile redirect is required and some work needs to be done to ensure the domain gains SEO benefits – done incorrectly and there could be a SEO cost.


  • Bryan Hadaway

    Very true. Most company owners aren’t web designers and have very complicated websites that were focused on static width design for years. I’m sure it’s nothing short of a nightmare and indeed a hit to the wallet for most to update.

    For me, I’m already sitting on a design I made responsive-ready, but have been pondering the issue more philosophically. Though, the votes are in (quite literally) and it’s clear what people want.

    I juggle many different projects though and my personal blog isn’t the highest of priorities so it will need to sit back-burner for a bit longer until I inevitably solve the last few kinks and make it fully responsive.

    Thanks, Bryan

  • Gerry

    There is no doubt in my mind. All web design will in the future be
    responsive. Managing multiple websites in multiple sizes and formats etc.
    is far too much unnecessary work. What website owners, of small businesses at least, want is easy site management and a website that looks good and performs well on all platforms etc. They don’t need to be copying all of their content onto several different pages or sites to accommodate all of the screen sizes and technology that it is going to be seen on.

    If it is a bigger company and they have a specialized staff to manage the website, it might be best to have a separate website for each format. This way they can optimize properly to have a better presentation and performance in each one targeted to the technology and size of screen etc.