Picture this: you’re sitting in a coffee shop, sipping a latte, and waiting for a couple friends who are running late to meet you. Instead of staring awkwardly at other customers, you pull out your fancy schmancy smartphone and start browsing the web. Your first stop is Facebook. As you scroll down your newsfeed, you see an interesting link that a friend has posted. Curious to see what “The World’s Funniest Joke” is, you click on the link.

The page loads and much to your chagrin, the page has been shrunk down to fit within your phone’s screen size, so you’re forced to pinch and zoom until you can see the joke. However, as you zoom in, sections of the site fall off the screen, so in order to read the entire joke, you must swipe back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, until you’ve lost your place and given up on trying to read this joke. Your friends arrive so you angrily put your phone away, feeling a little empty inside from not knowing “The World’s Funniest Joke.”

Your day could have been exponentially better knowing “The World’s Funniest Joke.” But instead, you’re left with a giant callous on your finger from excessive swiping, and a tiny resentment towards your friends for being late. This all could have been avoided had that page been built on a responsive framework.

The page is shrunken down on mobile devices when it is not designed with a responsive framework

What’s a responsive framework? Well, for starters, if you’re reading this on a computer, go ahead and resize your browser1. Now if you can, view this page on a netbook. Now do it on a tablet. Then your smartphone. How much pinching and zooming did you have to do to read the content? Your answer should be minimal or none. Our site was designed to be viewable on all different screen resolutions, whether you’re viewing on the go, or exploring on your computer. The layout of the site responds and changes according to your screen resolution.

On a responsive framework, there is no pinching and zooming required

The world of mobile browsing has come a long way since the days of brick-sized cellphones. Where it was once a convenient thing to have, it is now a way of life. Ethan Marcotte of A List Apart quotes:

Mobile browsing is expected to outpace desktop-based access within three to five years.

Of course, mobile-browsing won’t ever replace desktop browsing, and you’ll always have a better experience browsing on a desktop computer. But who knows, in the near future, the better user experience may just come from browsing on your mobile phone!

Here are a couple of my favorite responsive web sites. Go on, don’t be afraid to play around with the size of your browser window or even view it on your phone!
http://css-tricks.com
http://www.fork-cms.com
http://stephencaver.com
http://colly.com
http://interim.it
http://clearairchallenge.com
http://easy-readers.net/books/adaptive-web-design

1For a quick explanation of browsers, please refer to my first post in which I ‘splain the interweb.