The smartphone and tablet industry is one of the fastest moving out there, with a near-constant stream of updates, new releases, and innovations in both hardware and software. Consumers expect to replace their smartphones at least every year or two, and of course the major manufacturers are more than happy to satisfy that demand. Apple have made a habit of annual iPhone and iPad releases for some time now, and recently Google Samsung have started to follow the same tactics with their flagship Nexus and Galaxy S ranges.Throw in the myriad other manufacturers out there, and all of non-flagship models released for lower budgets, and there’s an enormous number of new handsets released on a monthly basis.
All of these new releases bring with them innovations, improvements, and, above all, change. What was the typical resolution or processor power 12 months ago might be hopelessly out of date now. And this change isn’t always as predictable as expecting screen sizes to grow – after all, Google Amazon both bucked conventional wisdom with their 7″ tablet models, and both have seen huge success, with the screen size now one of the most popular around. On top of this you have the development of brand new technologies, such as the relatively recent introduction of NFC chips in many smartphones, that allow interaction in ways not possible before.
All of this isn’t even touching on software updates, of course. Apple, Google, and Microsoft update their operating systems almost as often as their phones, and there’s a reliable stream of incremental updates even between the major releases. This effect is even more pronounced when you consider the simultaneous updates to most apps – any smartphone user can attest to how often their apps update themselves, with software changing on a daily basis, from games to web browsers.
All of that makes it a daunting task to create anything for the smartphone or tablet market, even down to a comparatively simple webpage. Conventional wisdom might suggest that you design your site for the most popular screen resolutions – but what might have been popular at the time of development is never guaranteed to stay that way. In an ever-changing market, creating a static website is a surefire way to find yourself outdated, left behind by the fast-moving industry.
That means that you need a website that can keep up with the times, one that will adapt to the industry, and to whatever the new “it” phone is, while still remaining as useful as ever for those users who haven’t yet upgraded. For that, you need to move past old-fashioned principles and adopt responsive web design. Responsive design allows you to create a website that’s flexible, that adapts to the screen size, resolution, and software of the device accessing it, to deliver the perfect browsing experience to every user.
This is a clear benefit given the huge variety of devices on offer today, but the benefit is even greater when you consider the future of the market. You can’t design a site now for a device that you can’t predict, but you can design a website flexible enough to suit any device that might come out, whatever that device might be – and whatever browser it might be using. Whether it’s a phone, a tablet, a TV, or something else altogether, you can make sure that your site looks great, feels great, and works perfectly. And that’s the power of responsive web design.