Responsive Design: Build Once, Deploy Everywhere

The old days of designers simply focusing on refining single page layouts until near perfection seem to be a thing of the past. The session I attended at SXSW 2013, presented the notion that responsive design is much more than page design, it is the design of an entire system. An adaptive design within a responsive framework, one that integrates responsive content across multiple platforms.

When traditionally thinking of a brand identity system, it consists typically of core elements such as a logo, business card, signage, packaging and so on however, this discussion encouraged attendees to think of responsive design across multiple platforms as an extension of a brand. The message was loud and clear, its not about mobile first, or web first, instead all platforms should be designed at once in order to develop a cohesive experience across the board. By doing so, it will maintain the integrity of the brand and identify issues that may not work across certain platforms and inform distinct design direction, in order to retain a consistent user experience.

Of course Responsive Design still has some issues that need to be addressed and its very clear that one of the biggest challenges is the decision making process. Many considerations such as time to market, longevity of experience, resources, complexity and more are just some of the elements of the process that need to be constantly questioned. Each project is unique, it comes with its own set of problems to solve as well as objectives, it ultimately boils down to the decisions you make that consequently impact the goal, which is to create the best user experience across all platforms.

Ultimately Responsive Design is continuing to emerge with its own set of best practices and the development of these adaptive systems are changing our process as designers. The notion of building once and deploying everywhere is the flexibility that design teams crave and the affordability that clients will appreciate.

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