Responsive web design has changed the way we approach websites. It’s mainstream enough that most B2B clients have an idea what is. Ask them to explain a responsive website and they may say “it’s a site that works on the desktop and mobile phones.” The more technical ones may mention flexible layouts and media queries. Tell a client who is unfamiliar with responsive web design that it will make the company’s one B2B website accessible across a range of devices, and a likely reaction is, “Sounds good. Give me one of those.”
Although responsive web design is not the right answer for every website project (it still depends on your goals), in many cases it is the best way to go. But when clients and agencies agree that they want their new site to be responsive, they think about the end deliverable. (Look! I can resize my browser and the website layout responds. Real users don’t do this btw.) They often don’t consider how it impacts the design and development process.
People can understand what responsive web design is and agree that it is the best way to approach a website, but when it comes to actually doing the work differently, they aren't ready. Because responsive web design isn’t just a new end product. It’s a new conceptual beginning, workflow, and way of thinking. It’s a philosophical approach as much as a design.
The website design process: Change how you work and think before you change your site
The first thing you need to change is your mindset. Let go of counterproductive thoughts and behaviors from the desktop days. If you are agreeing to responsive web design, you are not just agreeing to change the way a website is built. You are agreeing to change how you work and think long before you ever build it. Follow these tips to get started.
How to approach responsive design
The future is filled with a myriad of displays and devices. Responsive web design is a great way to design websites for this future--but only if you let go of how you approached web design in the past.