Worldwide sales of tablets will top 100 million this year. Next year, if the trend continues, tablet sales will surpass notebook sales for the first time. Right now among US mobile subscribers, smartphones outnumber cell phones. With young people leading the way, the way we use the Internet is changing at lightspeed.
Enter the new "mobile-responsive" web design. Pioneered by Twitter, this amazing new technology allows construction of websites that work equally well on all handheld Internet devices. By automatically detecting which kind of device is querying the site, the site cleverly resizes the layout. It's based on a dynamic grid system operating behind the scenes of the desktop view of your website.
We're talking universal optimization of the viewing experience. On any device, wherever there are bars, the site will be easy to use with a minimum of resizing, panning and scrolling. The secret? A fluid layout system which sizes elements proportionately, in percentages, rather than absolute pixel measurements. As an added benefit, pages load faster, and overall functionality improves.
New Technology Brings Mobile Web Design to The Masses
Doesn't sound so different from a traditional mobile website? Wrong. Now, you don't need a separate version of your website just for mobile devices. The mainframe of the website integrates that capability, with no need to add ingredients. It's a fiendishly clever solution to the problem of optimizing display across a myriad of viewing platforms.
What Should You Care?
It depends. If your audience is made up of older late adopters, responsive web design will be low on your list of priorities. For now, at least. Always remember that late adopters learn from the early adopters. Change filters upward, slowly but inevitably. If you're planning for a new site, think about not only what you need it to do today. Think about what it will need to be able to do five years from now.