Responsive Web Design (RWD) is a web design technique that strives to optimize the user’s viewing and interaction experience. The idea is to make reading and navigation easier by minimizing the need to resize elements on the screen and reducing the need to scroll. Optimally, a single source of web code can be reused across a wide range of devices, such as desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones.
As consumers, we’re already realizing the benefits of an interconnected world that allows for everything from remote control of the lights and thermostats in our homes to the tracking of our fitness with the flick of a wrist. As the APIs needed to run those devices become more complex, the need to make the user’s experience a responsive design becomes paramount so that Internet of Things (IoT) device monitored results can be viewed by desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
For comparison, let’s look at how this technology plays out between leisure activities and the workplace.
A popular online leisure activity is online shopping, or e-commerce. Daily headlines report that traditional “brick-and-mortar” establishments are continually losing market share to online retailers. But, are online shoppers sitting at a desk when shopping online? Or are they grabbing their tablet or smartphone to place that order?
A shopper’s online experience depends on how well the proprietor of an online store is prepared for their customer’s shopping experience – whether it be from a desktop or laptop computer, a tablet, or a smartphone. There is an entire web design industry dedicated to marketing website templates to e-commerce businesses that provide a seamless shopping experience regardless of the specific device used to access an online storefront.
In the workplace, 24/7/365 connectivity has been extended to include not just the computer hardware supplied by your company, but to include just about any personal device. Email can be checked from an employee’s laptop or cell phone. Meetings can take place in person or, the next best thing, via video conference. A video conference can take place from one’s desk in the office or from inside a car travelling from one destination to another (please meet responsibly!).
Imagine not needing to bring your laptop on a business trip because all the connectivity you need is supplied by your smartphone. This would make the process of getting through airport security even easier – even if you don’t have “TSA Precheck.” Attend meetings, update files, send and receive emails, monitor instant messaging tools, video chat, store information in the cloud, and much more, from what is today a hand-held device.
As the line between work and play becomes ever more blurred with each roll-out of newer technology, the temptation to check work while away from the office can become compulsive. Why not? It’s quick and easy and provides the peace of mind that all is well at work while you are away.
Indeed, requests are beginning to come in during software usability studies for RWD functionality built into business software products that will free the user from the desktop\laptop environment and make the office ever more mobile with a tablet or smartphone.
So, as summer vacation time shifts into high gear, won’t it be cool to be able to simultaneously make restaurant reservations for the evening, while checking in with the boss on the latest project status, all while your toes are buried in the sand at your favorite beach.