Inspiration Log 2: Entry 11

Going mobile? Responsive Web Design (RWD) vs HTML5 app approach.

Viktor, of ShoutEm CEO, looks into the pros of cons between Responsive Web Design and HTML5 app approaches for going mobile in this article. With mobile usage increasing more and more each day, many companies are in the process of fine-tuning their websites via either Responsive Web Design (RWD) or HTML5. The two techniques have some fundamental differences which set them apart from one another. With RWD, mobile devices make page requests and receive fully rendered HTML pages in return. Contrarily, HTML5 mobile applications send API requests and receive raw API data as a result. Fundamentally, RWD is a standard web technology with most user actions resulting in full HTML page loading. Additionally, some additional client side Javascript code UX can be improved and all actions happen on the server. On the other hand, the HTML5 mobile app approach functions with all actions happening on the device itself. Essentially, it is a HTML5 mobile application that runs in a browser, and more advanced HTML/Javascript frameworks UX allow for extremely close native app experience.

There a few key advantages and disadvantages of the RWD and HTML5 app approaches. RWD boasts a single website version to maintain as well as simple technology. These attributes make working in RWD convenient for web designers. Unfortunately, RWD requires a complete redesign of the website being worked on. Full page loading and large amounts of data via slow mobile networks also pose a problem within RWD. However, with the HTML5 app approach, no changes to the existing website are required and you are able to achieve a closer native application experience for the user. With respects to disadvantages, HTML5 requires that two separate solutions be maintained along with technology that is difficult to develop. These advantages and disadvantages demonstrate that RWD is probably more appropriate for today’s mobile market. With that being said, it is understood that more complex approaches to web design will be required once mobile traffic increases to 50% of all web traffic. These complex approaches will exceed the functions of the standard RWD being used in today’s industry. In conclusion, there is going to be a market for both RWD and HTML5 app approaches in the years to come. Additional factors come into play when making these types of decisions including personal preference of the company and the past experience of their web designers. I, personally, would make the argument that RWD is a more effective method of constructing mobile websites. However, an entity which has always used HTML5 app approaches may feel more comfortable sticking within that realm of mobile web designing.


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