The Static-Width Web is Dead

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It never ceases to amaze me how often I run into people with new websites that aren’t mobile friendly. Static-width websites target a single display size and don’t adjust. They’re not mobile friendly, they’re not tablet friendly, and, really, they’re not web friendly. As a freelance web designer/developer, I don’t ever make anything that isn’t mobile friendly. At this point, it’s so old hat that it’s almost easier to build a fluid-grid, responsive website than to make a static-width website.

The phenomena of desktop only websites is rooted in the idea that mobile is a secondary concern. Many businesses think they just need to get the new website up, and they’ll worry about mobile later. But this approach means building a static-width website, a website that doesn’t adjust to the display size of the user and then trying to retrofit some kind of mobile into it. Of course, this is a terrible idea and will mean much more work for designers and developers than just building it right in the first place.

Fluid Grid or Responsive Web Design Freed Us From Retrofitting a Long Time Ago

Designer and developer Ethan Marcotte came out with “Responsive Web Design” in 2011 and showed the way to build websites that move and respond to the size of user’s screens. The key is to think of all elements in terms of proportion and then make adjustments as the design breaks. For example, resize your browser while viewing this blog post. The design will adjust and reflow based on the width of your browser.

I don’t ever build websites anymore without mobile. It’s a no brainer.

Mobile Friendly is Now the Default

In 2010, we did an infographic on how the web was going mobile. Even then it was clear that being mobile ready was a requirement. It’s not even worth repeating at this point. Geoffrey A. Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm” outlines the adoption curves associated with new technology.

Crossing the Chasm

At this point, if you’re not making mobile friendly websites, I’m not sure you’re even in the late minority. In 2013, missing mobile makes you a laggard.