I'm an advocate of Responsive Web Design, in the ever changing way we access the web it's a progressive step in designing for various screen sizes and resolutions. However of late I've seen trends that would suggest Responsive Web is the single and only solution for delivering a Mobile Strategy.
"Responsive Design is not a panacea. Rather a great step in the right direction" - Brad Frost.
There is also the notion that Mobile First is a costly and time consuming approach to adopt. This somewhat misses the point; maybe it's just a miss-interpretation of what Luke Wroblewski's Mobile First actually means! Mobile First shouldn't always involve starting from scratch for existing websites, nor is it merely about designing for small screens and adding more features for larger screens.
To the User Experience Designer 'Mobile First' is about designing experiences that meet user needs through the Context and Power of Mobile, harnessing the 'Smartphones' full capabilities and realising designs that breakaway from the limitations of the desktop computer.
When laying out a Mobile Strategy we have a wide range of methods and approaches in our mobile design kitbag:
- Native Apps
- Mobile Web Apps
- Adaptive Web
- Responsive Web
The most important point is these shouldn't be seen as competing, but instead a Mobile Design Strategy can be made up of any number of approaches. The key to success however is that together they deliver a consistent and seamless experience for the end user.
Enough preamble; here's a 'real world' example of how a tailored mobile experience was realised through multiple approaches: