Warning: Mobile & Responsive Design Is Not Just a Fad

Responsive design, mobile first, graceful degradation and progressive enhancement – know how important it is for your website or blog.

You might have read an article reporting that there will be more mobile devices than humans by 2017. It is not a joke. According to this post, our mobile data appetite doubled in size in 2012 so if you are ignoring mobile and responsive design you should think about it.

Last month I noticed a record high stats in my blog. About 25% of my visitors came from iOS or Android operating systems which means more and more people are using their mobile devices for browsing the web – if this isn\’t obvious yet. Even desktop owners would switch to browsing the web in mobile devices.

[callout_box bg=\”#00adee\” color=\”#fff\” ] A study revealed that 37% of PC users migrate activities to mobile devices according to NDP Group. [/callout_box]

Every month I discover more and more of my friends are buying iPad and Android tablets, not to mention they already have mid-range to top of the line smartphones. Not all have mobile data plans but they always have access to free Wi-Fi whether in the coffee shop or in the office.

Responsive Design

Now going back to my visitor statistics, I made a decision to finally switch to a responsive blog design. I have been planning about it since last year. Beginning 2013 with a new look and feel seems to be the best timing. I already have mobile theme specific for mobile browsers for several years but I favor responsive design because it is more fluid and it adapts even to different PC monitor sizes. I went back to coding CCS3 last weekend and understood how effective responsive design is. Think again – if you don\’t cater for the needs of your blog readers, and found your blog unpleasant to read they will leave and read elsewhere.

I don\’t change my blog themes a lot but if my documentation is correct my blog is officially on the 5th major redesign. Below is a screenshot on how my blog would look like on a very small screen. Also try re-sizing your browser to see it in action.


Mobile First Design

The best example on mobile first design is Instagram. From the very beginning it is focused on mobile phones only. Even after Facebook bought it the focus is still on mobile design.

You might have read terms like graceful degradation and progressive enhancement also. They tend to be interchangeable but there is a slight difference.

If you are just starting a blog, you might consider progressive enhancement instead because it is the real mobile first design. You already present the best design possible on mobile devices and when there is a need to use bigger screen the site would scale up and be enhanced.

Between graceful degradation and progressive enhancement, progressive enhancement is much better in theory because when you start simple and neat in a mobile device then scale up to a bigger desktop screen, your design would be better off than a design made to fit for a bigger screen and then reduced to lesser quality after.

In the case of my blog – I started this long time ago so it\’s not simple to scale down with mobile first design.  I use many widgets and they tend to favor bigger screens.

To be honest, this graceful degradation and progressive enhancement sounds like a chicken and egg argument so I\’ll leave it to you what\’s best for your website or blog.

[callout_box bg=\”#FF9C00\” color=\”#fff\”]I just started my Facebook Page. Please like it if you like what you\’ve read here. Link found below. Thanks![/callout_box]

By Marck V.

Filipino IT consultant on enterprise software. On his spare time he do web project management, photography and blogging. Web 2.0 enthusiast.