responsive

Responsive design > mobile sites

There are individuals and companies who still believe it would be in their best interest to maintain a 'desktop' version of their website, and a completely or mostly-separate 'mobile' version of their site, and this belief (especially in the corporate arena) was strengthened by a recent (2012) report by the Nielsen Norman Group, Mobile Site vs. Full Site, which recommended a separate mobile site with stripped-down features and different design. The idea of having a mobile-optimized design is good—but not with the cost of making it a stripped-down version of your 'full' site, as Nielsen seems to recommend.

Mobile PNC Website

There are many problems with having separate versions of the website, especially as we near a point where many sites are accessed more on mobile devices (tablets, smartphones), and less on traditional desktop computers:

Making your current Drupal theme responsive, simply

For a few of my smaller sites (like my portfolio website, www.jeffgeerling.com), I've had a little todo item on my list for the past year or so to make the them 'more responsive'—mostly meaning "make it legible on an iPhone or comparable Android phone". Most tablets I've used render traditional 960px layouts appreciably well, including the iPad, Kindle Fire, Samsung Galaxy Tab, etc., so I want to just focus on making the websites usable on smartphones.

What we had, and what we're going for (which one seems more readable and user-friendly on a small screen?):

Life is a Prayer.com - Responsive Design (Before)    Life is a Prayer.com - Responsive Design (After)

I'll show you how I quickly (in less than half an hour) added a <meta /> tag to the site's </code> tag to instruct mobile phones on the width of my site, and how I added a simple <code>@media query to my theme's stylesheet to apply a few layout rules to make the design of the site better for mobile phones.

Life is a Prayer - Looking great on your smartphone!

For the first time ever, I decided to make one of my personal sites look good on mobile phones by incorporating 'responsive' design. Basically, I use some spiffy CSS to say "when you're viewing Life is a Prayer.com on an iPhone, or Android phone, or a window smaller than x pixels, change the layout of the site so it's a LOT easier to read.

Lifeisaprayer.com - Responsive design on iPhone 4s

So, if you have a mobile phone that runs iOS or Android, whip it out really quick, head over to Life is a Prayer.com, and tell me what you think (even the comment form works great now!).

If you don't have a smartphone, but you use a modern web browser, try making the browser skinnier until you see how the content on the site re-flows (and images resize) so they fit the window a bit nicer!