January AdAge headline: “AOL to Redesign All Content Sites with Responsive Design.” December Mashable headline: “Why 2013 Is the Year of Responsive Web Design.” What’s going on? Well, responsive design is a new approach that enables web developers to build and maintain a single website to serve to all kinds of devices: smartphones, tablets, laptops and more. Our multi-device world is driving responsive design because it offers a persuasive vision: a single website that works on all screens.
GigaOM got with the programme this week. “One design, any screen: Introducing GigaOM’s new look and feel,” was how our favourite tech daily put it. Quote:
“At a time when readers are using so many different devices, one big challenge for digital publishers is retaining the quality and consistency of the reading experience not only across devices but also across different operating systems and browsers.
Now, whether you’re on a desktop or a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone, our sites will automatically adjust, rendering the content in the way that best fits that particular environment.”
The principle of One Web was established by the W3C in 2008 in its Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0 recommendation that proposed, “as far as is reasonable, the same information and services available to users irrespective of the device they are using.” What’s next? Around the corner are sites that are truly adaptive. These will add dynamic functionality to responsive layout to deliver performance and features that will make adaptive sites indistinguishable from apps. GigaOM seems to be headed in this direction: “These upgrades pave the way for subsequent phases of this redesign over the next few months that will include more changes in how we present our content,” wrote Ernie Sander in his presentation of the new look.
Responsive or adaptive, sites are dependent on content, good writing and entertaining video, especially. Producing, publishing and sharing are the holy trinity of the new media business and the role of responsive design is to deliver the content to those who need to access it anytime, anywhere on any device.