Responsive web design: 6 experts, 4 questions

Brad Frost

Helen Bailey: What questions do you ask a client to make sure he/she really needs a responsive website and not a mobile site or application? Or do you believe any website should be responsive?
Brad Frost: I think 'responsive by default' is a good mentality. Creating a single codebase to serve to all users is a better way to preserve your sanity. In almost every situation, an organization choosing to create a separate mobile site has everything to do with the organization, process or project scope rather than for technological reasons. I'd say that very rarely are there instances where separate sites are necessary from a technological point of view. As for native apps, that's a whole different conversation. Unfortunately, many organizations conflate apps and sites, so it's important to educate them. I typically ask, "what's this thing supposed to do? Does it need access to device capabilities like your camera or contact list?" If yes, I'd recommend making a native app. However, it's importance to capitalize on the ubiquity of the Web, so even an app strategy needs to have a strong Web counterpart.

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