Trends On Tuesday: Responsive Web Design Implementation Happening Piecemeal

Responsive web design mock-ups shown on mobile devices.

Approximately 18% of websites have implemented Responsive Web Design, according to the audit of websites Guy Podjarny completed in November. That’s more than 7% growth since his previous audit in January 2014.

That number may seem low with the popularity of Responsive Web Design and the preference of mobile websites from users, but implementing responsive Web design is not as easy at it seems.

In a report last year, Forrester found that “few organizations have the budget or risk appetite to ‘responsify’ all of their Web assets in one fell swoop.” Forrester further states that many organizations do it in a piecemeal fashion starting with the homepage and other places that don’t have complex “transactional logic or processes.”

Government agencies are no different and agencies told us last year there are numerous challenges to Responsive Web Design implementation in government. Agencies face barriers with content strategy, coordinating change with content stakeholders, mobilizing photos, tables and PDFs, and accessibility among other things. You can read and hear about these challenges.

There is also a risk in doing it quickly. Podjarny finds that some of the the responsive pages are having performance load time issues and the “one size fits all” mobile websites, which accounted for 21% of websites in his analysis, actually load faster than many responsively-designed websites. Jeremy Vanderlan from AIDS.gov recently conducted a webinar that talks about tools you can use to make sure your site loads quickly.

In addition, agencies need to test compatibility of their sites across different devices. That’s why we created the Federal CrowdSource Mobile Testing Program to help agencies get access to other devices they can test on and help other agency colleagues learn about responsive Web design. Join us as we conduct a test cycle for the National Cancer Institute next week.

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