Responsive Design: Pros And Cons

July 29, 2014

Responsive design became a hot topic about a year ago and still not loosing its popularity.

Web designers and experts still argue about necessity of responsive design. Business Intelligence made own big report with analysis of options in web design, popularity of different strategies and limitations of responsive design.

We decided to pop up the key points of the report for you.

No matter what your business is, you need to look great on mobile. The most successful companies have already adjusted their websites to mobile:

First of all, let’s define the tools of the mobile design.

  • Mobile apps – the greatest way to communicate with your customers, and they are spending more and more time with apps (as stats below confirms). Applications are built with native language of the device and run much faster than pages on web.

  • Mobile-only website – version of the website, created especially for mobile devices. Its URL often looks like and load relatively fast, but lack the full site functionality.
  • Responsive design –  adjusts layout according to every device screen size, called “fluid layout”. Also there’s an option with server-side support, which require device detection, but more agile in adjusting layout for certain devices.

Responsive design philosophy is great, saying that design and content should look great from any device, but also it has some disadvantages.

Limitations of responsive design.

  1. Not every business needs it. If your business got to offer smth both to mobile and desktop users, also content should be different, responsive design isn’t for you.
  2. May run slower than a simple website, opened on mobile device.
  3. Hard to get it right and not cheap at all. Slightest changes require a bulk of HTML coding, also testing on plenty of devices may cause serious problems.
  4. Technical issues with images and video. Resizing of images for different screens and resolutions is not a simple task, also video tends to broke on responsive design sites.
  5. Advertising isn’t so easy. Advertising elements could be not so agile as another content.

Well, advantages always come together with imperfections. Let’s say couple of words in favor of responsive design:

  1. One single URL – users won’t be mislead by redirections.
  2. Site looks almost the same on all screens. The same UI, the same look-and-feel.
  3. The best from HTML5. It migrates seamlessly between devices and got access to the device camera, GPS etc.
  4. Looking great on tablets and desktop. Tablet users are among valuable in terms of income and willing to purchase on mobile; desktop version of responsive design allows to put main content at the main place even if the user shrinks the browser window.


Experts call responsive design a gold-standard for mobile strategy on all devices – from smartphones to Smart TVs. HTML5 implementation may even use device’s  additional features like camera and GPS if needed. However, it has some restrictions, which are great to be counted while creating mobile user experience for your business. First of all this is the cost and implementation complexity, as well as load time drag, issues with advertising, video transcoding, and image scaling.