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Make Your Website Mobile with Responsive Design

Make Your Website Mobile with Responsive Design

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Did you know that by 2013, mobile devices will outpace desktop computers as the most common way to access the internet? That's next year! Are you ready? What does your organization's website look like on a mobile phone? Or a tablet?

The internet is no longer something we access just at the office or at home. It now goes where we go. And our websites need to be ready to move with it. Nonprofits are increasingly asking us about about mobile sites. Our suggestion: instead of building a dedicated mobile site consider Responsive Design.

Responsive Design allows your site to be viewed on any platform — desktop, tablet or mobile phone. The site automatically adapts to each platform based not on the device being used, but on the size of the browser. To see how it works, grab the corner of your browser window. Make the window narrower. Now make it wider. See how our site changes to fit the screen? This is responsive design. Our site is built on a grid that adjusts to fit the size of the screen, moving or changing page elements as the screen gets narrower.

Responsive Design may be the best way to make your site mobile-friendly. Here's why we like it so much:

You only need to have one site.
A dedicated mobile site requires customization for different devices; Android, iPhone, iPad, Netbook, etc. A site built with responsive design can adapt to any of these platforms on the fly.

You only need to update one site.
Instead of having separate sites and URLs for various platforms, your one site and one web address works on all platforms. No need to update separate sites.

It's easy to share information across platforms.
If you forward a link from mobile site to someone on a desktop browser, they will see the mobile version of the site. A link from Responsive Design page is the same on any device, so links can be shared with ease.

Your website is future-proof.
The site will adjust to any reasonably sized device. You won't need to make adjustments when a new class of device or new sized tablet comes to the market.

We're not saying mobile sites are bad. In fact, there are some circumstances where a dedicated mobile site might be the right choice. But for general mobile-friendly web needs, Responsive Design offers a balance of flexibility and ease-of maintenance, making it a good fit nonprofit organizations.

Want to learn more about building your site in Responsive Design?
Give us a call or send an email. We're happy to discuss the details of your situation. Curious about seeing other examples of Responsive Design? Check out these other responsive design sites:

Food Sense
The Boston Globe
Clean Air Challenge