So recently I’ve seen some posts by some very upset people, going back and forth about why responsive design is or is not the future of the web. I’ve also seen folks slamming RWD saying that mobile native apps are the future, and that anyone who thinks RWD is the future is insane. Here’s what I have to say to both sides of the argument: take a step back and embrace both. Here’s why.
Responsive Web Design
If done correctly responsive web design can be incredibly powerful for your clients. They can have one place to add content, that displays cleanly across devices. And, if you optimize their responsive site correctly, it’ll load beautifully and quickly regardless of the device being used to view it.
Now lets talk about native apps. In certain situations, native apps just make sense. They give you a sense of security. For example, I do almost all of my banking through mobile native apps. My banks also have responsive sites, but even though they aren’t necessarily more secure, the native apps FEEL more secure, so I have a fabulous user experience.
Some companies have native apps that I will never ever download. For example, there are tons of stores that offer native apps, and if they aren’t stores I frequent often, I’m not emotionally invested enough in the company to download their native app. Their responsive website is where I’ll be shopping. If they don’t have a responsive website, they just lost my business.
The Big Picture
So let’s look at the big picture. What it really comes down to is that people maintaining websites want to enter their content once, and have it display across devices. The key to the future of mobile web design is creating content management systems that allow you to add content once and have it display in your responsive website, AND in your mobile native apps! And it just so happens that my completely awesome company Schoolwires has already created a CMS (Centricity 2) that does EXACTLY that. We worked with the San Diego Unified School District to develop a native app that pulls content from our existing CMS. So they literally enter once, and can display their content on desktop, tablet and mobile devices through a responsive site template, AND they can display it in their mobile native iOS & Android apps.
That in my humble opinion is the future of mobile and web design. Enter content once, display it everywhere.