Responsive Web Design Retrofit Options

Posted By Trending Topics In Digital Strategy 06/21/2013
Mobile responsive design

The need to retrofit websites to accommodate mobile users is a common problem for businesses and enterprises. While it may seem much longer ago, the iPhone was first launched in 2007, ushering in a new era of tablet touch technology and becoming the standard-bearer of non-traditional (ie desktop) online experiences. These issues were compounded with the releases of Android tablets, iPads and a sea of different devices, all with slightly different capabilities and often drastically different screen sizes.

Throughout all the tumultuous changes, there has been one constant, which is that businesses want their customers to be able to access important content with as little hassle as possible. Unfortunately, technology hasn’t always been so quick to catch up. Many entities were caught in the crossroads, finishing very expensive, elaborate site design projects only to find a rapidly growing number of users developing access issues because of the lack of responsive design.

The emergence of Ethan Marcotte’s “responsive Web design” principle seems to have calmed the once turbulent waters somewhat, but not before millions of businesses and organizations were stranded in the gap between current technology and old basic desktop design.

So what are the best options available for businesses or enterprises caught in the middle? Matt Stow recently wrote an article for SmashingMagazine.com exploring this very dillemma. Stow’s suggestions include:

RWD Retrofit, which he describes as, “a small, vanilla JavaScript “plugin” that gives developers the option to allow an existing “desktop” website to coexist with a new responsive version, with minimal modification to the original website.” This is a viable solution because it incorporates dynamic viewport switching, which adjusts content to the viewing device’s specifications.

Dedicated Mobile Websites, which allow businesses to build a mobile-specific viewing experience. This allows you to develop a new experience for a targeted segment of your audience, and tailor the needs accordingly.

Responsive Reskinning, which uses existing code to optimize the mobile experience, but also brings a host of additional overhead, testing and development issues. Stow writes, “This approach is better suited to simple websites that already use modern Web standards as their underlying technology.”

Mobile-First Responsive Rebuild, which is the most expensive item and quickly becoming the standard for new development. This is the top-shelf solution, and basically puts a system in place with the newest technology.

If your business’ web presence is facing mobile compatibility issues, you’re not alone. There are many methods to repurpose your existing content, or create new designs to give a great user experience and keep your content readily available to users with any device.

What digital strategy have you implemented to make sure users can access your web content?

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