RWD vs. Mobile-only Design

Here’s the question of the day: Is it better to to use responsive web design or design for the desktop and a mobile-only design?

Responsive Web Design is all the rage right now with so many devices popping up with greater frequency. It makes sense (and it’s pretty cool) to see responsiveness at work. Just check out Media Queries to see what I mean. But then again, user experience is sometimes better with an app or a mobile-only design.

So which one is better? Which one has greater staying power?

Both have practically the same load times regardless of device of screen resolution. Desktops, however, are still significantly faster overall. Broadband is still more than a quarter times faster than smartphone mobile internet. But devices are increasing in prevalence. That would seem to point away from responsive design and more toward capitalizing on the benefits of each type of device through desktop and mobile-only designs. In my opinion, designing separately for these would not take that much more time than designing responsively over all. And the complexity of RWD may end up more costly in the end from a designer’s standpoint.

As a small business owner, I know that time is money in so many ways. Load times will ultimately make a difference on the bottom line. Mobile-only designs are more easily and quickly accessible, more easily navigated, and mobile user-friendly on those devices, but fast broadband connections will favor my businesses when users can sit down at a full-size monitor and take some time looking at the products. Here’s another great inforgraphic, this time from KISSmetrics:



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