Responsive Web Design: Alternative and important views

Challenges with Responsive Web Design*

Time and effort
Designer sketches, such as wireframes, need to take designs into each application. Clients on a tight timeline may not have the time to wait for RWDs
Devices will always be different
“…there will always be one of two devices which won’t translate”.

Is it the right choice?
If a site uses and relies on flash, clients may wish to limit all the content on all mobile devices. RWD does not allow for this to happen.
Media queries
Media queries allows the device to know what screen size and resolution is being used. If the web browser, however, does not recognise media queries then the page will be incorrectly displayed.

*Adapted from (Elle 2012: online).

SEO and responsive web design

The connection of SEO and RWD is clear but it is important to be aware of the alternative, if not negative, viewpoints because an SEOs job is to ensure they give the searcher, and user of technology, the best experience to obtain the highest possible rankings.

Some problems with RWD

Many, not all, responsive websites: have poor information architecture (e.g. Microsoft and Disney); are slow and don’t delight users with mobile only features (i.e. creating an app-like experience). Some of Meunier’s (2013) work, however, is not accurate. Mobile specific keywords, for example, are the same for desktop/laptop users. Arguably the only difference is that mobile searchers do not search for a lot of specific searches on their mobile devices because they carry out broad informational queries.

RWD is still in the early stages

RWD is approximately three years’ old: RWD is still in the early stages of the systems lifecycle and it still have a long way to go (i.e. becoming the fastest browsing experience).

I hope you realise that this post has not been intended to give RWD a ‘bad name’ or put someone off a RWD but I do hope you think about the negative viewpoints whenever you are thinking about what is best for your user.

Posted by: Gerald Murphy
(Twitter) @GeraldMurphySEO
(WordPress) A blog about search engines. Search “gerald murphy seo”

It is hoped that this post will help answer the following question: Are there any negative aspects to responsive web design? This post is, therefore, not saying RWD is poor. Knowing the disadvantages allows you to make the right decisions for your client/s.

References

  1. Elle [No surname] PS Print. (2012) 4 CHALLENGES WEB-DESIGNERS FACE WITH RESPONSIVE DESIGN. [Online] [Accessed on 30th March 2013] http://is.gd/TNtooy
  2. Meunier, B. (2013) How Common Are SEO Problems With Responsive Web Design? [Online] [Accessed on 04th April 2013] http://tinyurl.com/d9ggyma
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