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The Importance of Responsive Design

I manage the website for PAWS New England, a fantastic animal rescue organization that we used when adopting our most recent dog.

I was looking at site analytics over the weekend, and the explosion in mobile traffic is absolutely astounding. Here are the numbers…

May 2011 May 2012
All Traffic 5,229 8,559
Mobile 468 (~9%) 2,035 (~23%)

Month-over-month from 2011 to 2012, traffic to the site increased by about 20 percent. But traffic from mobile sources increased by more than 4x for that same time period. And as a percentage of total traffic, it more than doubled.

About 40 percent of mobile traffic came from the iPad, and another 35 percent from the iPhone, which means iOS devices account for 75 percent of all mobile traffic.

I’ll be curious to see how this trend plays out over the next year or so.

One thing is clear though: Responsive and adaptive design are not “nice to haves” skill sets. These are essential skills for the modern web designer, and need to be baked into your workflow. Mobile-friendly can’t be slapped on as an afterthought.

(That’s not to say that responsive or adaptive design are the only solution for mobile access.)