Responsive design - NOT mobile compatible

Responsive design is one of the buzz phrases of the moment. But have you really understood what that means?

We've noticed some confusion amongst our clients, so I thought it would be prudent to do a post about it to help try and explain more. You see, responsive design is not mobile compatible. Nor is it mobile and tablet compatible.  There is more to it!

Responsive design is "an approach to web design in which a site crafted to provide an optimal viewing experience - easy reading and navigation with a minimum of re-sizing, panning and scrolling - across a wide range of devices (from desktop monitors to mobile phones)" - thanks wikipedia!

The important point to take out of this is the mention of desktop monitors. How many of you can honestly hold up your hands and say that you knew responsive design would cover the different screen resolutions on monitors, as well as anything vaguely portable?

When I first started out on the world wide web journey with designers, we talked about 640 x 480 as the default position for screen resolutions, then we moved on to 800 x 600, then 1024 x 768, and..... well, you get my point. The fact is that many people actually have no idea what their screen resolution is, as they use the pre-set default resolution for their screen. The fact is though that if you are still designing for a standard of 1024 x 768, then you are only catering for less than 10% of desktop screens (I've used the UK for 2012 as my benchmark). The top screen resolution for 2012, which still only caters for 24% of the market is in fact 1366 x 768.

What you need to be thinking about then when you consider responsive design is the plethora of desktop resolutions as well as the more portable screens we know and love.