The web design industry can go gaga over responsive design at the drop of a hat. But is responsive web design (RWD) really that cool or are there problems with it that are hard to notice at the first glance?
Responsive design does consist of a bunch of issues. It’s essential for the web designers to identify them and get rid of them, so top quality design works could be produced.
In this article, we’ll explain why responsive web design is not as cool as it is portrayed to be. The USP of responsive design is flexibility; a site with responsive design is super flexible as it could be accessed through a broad range of devices. But responsive design comes with few issues such as;
When an image, the size of which is suitable for a desktop device, is downloaded on a mobile device, its size remains the same. That clearly means the mobile users have to download a file, which is unnecessarily large. Once the full image is downloaded, the hand-held device resizes it so it fits its tiny screen. This process consumes a lot of memories. For one pixel, three bytes of memory is consumed. You can follow the endorsed ways to resize images in responsive design and use third-party tools to ensure less memory wastage when an image is being resized.
Hiding site content
Responsive site owners often decide to hide content from users because the small screens of mobile devices cannot render the full content, or even if they do, the readers would have to keep scrolling down. But that’s a very bad idea because hidden content on the site is obtrusive to user-engagement. Users should be able to browse the site and view the content irrespective of whether it’s a small screen or desktop screen, more so, some important functionalities on the site might stay hidden from the users.
Cost related concerns
If you are going for responsive design, then you might have to pay more than what you’d have paid had it been a non-responsive website. It might appear a no-brainer idea because building a dedicated mobile site would cost you even more, but this line of thinking is too linear because responsive web design requires experienced designers and they’d have to work longer than the set timeline, which might increase the cost. Responsive design has plenty other issues that we’re going to discuss in the paragraphs to come, but this one deals with operational costs, and, therefore, calls for a second thought.
Load time problems
A very common responsive design practice is hiding the design elements. The problem is it doesn’t reduce the loading time because the hidden elements also load as soon as you put the URL of the site on the address bar and tap. But the problem with Smart devices is the speed they operate on, is of the sub-broadband level. Hence, the responsive design fails to offer users any load time benefit. The solution to this issue is to let those elements load last that are rich with resources. There are many other strategies that you can apply to make your responsive site load fast. This is a workable technique because elements that are not resource-intensive can load quickly.
This is the biggest of all responsive design issues. The reason responsive design is appreciated is it keeps the site layout same for desktop devices as well as for mobile devices. The problem is, mobile and desktop devices have different interfaces, and so users perceive them quite differently. A desktop site has navigation that is essentially different from hand-held navigation, but one platform requires users to click whereas another requires them to tap. That’s the problematic part. You can handle this issue by making the navigational links on the hand-held platform bigger, more prominent and extra sensitive to touch.
Responsive design is heavily dependent on coding. That’s not a problem because there’s no scarcity of skilled and experienced coders. The only problem is adding more code to a file means having difficulty managing and updating that file. We’ve already discussed responsive design doesn’t offer any load time benefit. On top of that, if more code are added to a file, then the site will load even slower. This problem could be sorted by adding sufficient amount of organized code.
As we can see, responsive design is not an elixir in the design industry. There are many bugging issues that come with it. The task of a competent designer is to avoid these problems by coding efficiently.