The greater the variety of devices, the greater the challenge when it comes to ensuring visual and often content-related consistency in the provision of website material. One major problem concerns the differing capabilities of browsers and the size and resolution of the displays, which vary considerably from device to device. To spare visitors the need to change constantly the idea of responsive design was developed. Sectoral services such as the .net magazine or Mashable have described this new form of online presentation as one of the most important developments of the past year.
Since emails are being retrieved by mobile devices more frequently, the principle of responsive design is also applied to the creation of newsletters.
Responsive design solves many problems, but the following points still have to be considered:
- The CSS layout commands are only understood by current browsers. Older versions are unable to cope with this technology.
- Responsive design is ideal for smaller pages with low complexity and clearly structured arrangement involving box-like elements, but it is hardly suitable for portals and websites with complex structures and a design which lives, for example, from a horizontal orientation.
- The use of responsive web design requires very precise prior planning. It is therefore good for use during new design processes or relaunches, but modification of an existing design is very laborious.
- Despite perfect presentation on all devices, different app and web strategies and maintenance concepts for mobile content and services are needed. Not all content which makes a positive impact on a tablet and is comfortable to use can be transferred to the much smaller screens of a smartphone.