Consider Responsive Web Design

Idea#70

Stage: Active

Campaign: Ideas for the Mobility Strategy

Consider updating federal websites to incorporate responsive web design. It allows the arrangement of your content to change to fit the browser screen.

Imagine a seamless user experience across federal websites and across a wide range of platforms.

With responsive web design you get the same content on a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone and it is displayed in a way that best suits the device you are using.

This would be a bold step that saves time and money by eliminating the need for a separate mobile version of a website and it would prevent a two-tiered user experience.

One note of caution: Does this affect the accessibility of the website (Section 508). In theory, it shouldn't but I don't know. This is uncharted territory for me.

For more information see: http://coding.smashingmagazine.com/2011/01/12/guidelines-for-responsive-web-design/

You can see it in action - online news websites and the Obama campaign website have already implemented it:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/

http://www.barackobama.com/

Just resize the browser screen on your desktop or try opening the page on a mobile device. For example: A smartphone might have a one column display, a tablet might have a landscape or two column layout, your desktop may have a three or four column layout.

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Comments

  1. Comment
    sweerek

    OR..

    Just put a thing into mobile browsers that translate any page in realtime in the cloud -- see Google Mobile Optimizer, http://www.google.com/gwt/n

    Whole lot less expensive.

  2. Comment
    njones

    There is a huge value with making existing and new websites compatible with various devices through Responsive Web Design. However, this requires more than just translating the pages using a tool. Consideration needs to be given as to what data should be presented and in what order. For example a user accessing a site from a smartphone is unlikely to complete a long and complex form that might be more prominently displayed if accessed from a pc. The type of information that will be relevant to a user on various devices should be considered during this process. A good example is RI.gov