The underlying concept of responsive website design is that everyone who comes to your site should have an enjoyable experience, no matter what device they're using. And with so many people browsing from their tablets or cell phones, you have to make the site accessible for large and small screens alike. With so much traffic coming from these sources, it's pretty obvious why everyone sees the value in it.
There are two main schools of thought on this.
The first way, which some people might call old fashioned, is called Browser First. With Browser First design, you'll build your website for everything that's going to be on the largest browser version. Then, as you go down to smaller and smaller sizes, you pair down the less essential elements and push more columns to the center. It's basically starting with a slab of marble and chiseling out a detailed sculpture, i.e, your mobile site.
The other version of thinking about responsive design is called Mobile First. It's more like starting with a slab of clay and adding more and more until you come up with your largest version.
Which is Better?
One involves adding, and the other involves subtracting. Conveniently, they both use the same tools, so it's really more of a philosophical issue. Probably the best argument for the mobile first approach is that most people are using mobile browsing to visit websites. Nowadays, it makes sense to focus on the version that people are going to be using most, especially if you're trying to sell using a web store.
From an aesthetic standpoint, though, it's pretty hard to deny that your browser version is going to be more impressive. Starting with the largest version, you'll make a lot fewer sacrifices for graphics versus your mobile version. You can create a more intriguing or intuitive layout because you won't be restricted by the limitations of the viewing window.
So, if you want to optimize for user experience, the mobile first approach can really work wonders. Contact us to learn more.