Research and evidence from the Mobile Overview Report (MOVR) indicates the expansion, fragmentation, and pace of change in mobile devices is accelerating. Web designers want their pages to respond appropriately when different devices use them, or when pages are resized. Pairing Responsive Web Design with a device detection solution is the most effective way to ensure mobile web performance works the way their designers intend.
Responsive Web Design (RWD) is a great framework for delivering a single code base that will make a web site look good on both mobile and desktop devices. RWD sites looks good, but are they optimized for performance? Do responsive pages load quickly? Does RWD effectively identify and handle the vast array devices encountered in the real world. The evidence says no.
For example, RWD will typically use media queries to determine the size of the viewport to identify the device and respond with a layout that is appropriate. For example, the media query says the viewport is 480 pixels – so it is a smartphone, right? Well, maybe not. It might be a desktop with a resized window. Or a feature phone with a nice screen. In each case, you need different layout, content, navigation, and optimally-sized images to deliver the best experience and performance. To do this, you need fast and reliable information about the device and its capabilties to make adjustments in real time.
Companies concerned about mobile web performance and ensuring a strong, universal mobile experience take RWD to the next level. They integrate the power of server-side device intelligence with RWD. Developers call this RESS (an acronym standing for Responisive web design with Server Side detection) or Adaptive Design. With WURFL and a few lines of code, developers can use the user agent in the HTTP request to query the WURFL DDR and extract intelligence about the user’s device. You can choose from over 500 device capabilities to build logic within your own website or application. For example, developers may segment devices into smartphones, desktops, tablets, and feature phones. Based on this segmentation and other capabilities (OS, touch screen, media capabilities), the user experience may be designed differently and delivered with appropriately sized content.
Several WURFL product options are available to optimize mobile web performance: