Kristina Leroux

Kristina Leroux, Nonprofit Marketing Guide's Community Engagement Manager

We’ve noticed lately a lot of folks talking about “responsive design” or “responsive web design.”  Mashable even proclaimed 2013 the Year of Responsive Design. Just in case you are getting questions you aren’t quite sure how to answer, we wanted to give you a quick explanation.

Simply put, responsive web design means that your website knows what type of device and browser it is being viewed on and adjusts itself to better fit the specifications of that device or browser. So your website knows when it’s being viewed on a computer using Firefox or on an iPhone using Safari.

Here’s the “responsive” part: The website then formats itself accordingly so you aren’t scrolling and panning through a full-sized web page on your smartphone.

What the heck is Responsive Web Design?

We don’t need to remind you that smartphones and tablet use is increasing, with some research showing mobile taking over desktop by 2014. Is your nonprofit’s webpage ready? We’ve complied some resources and examples of responsive web design to help you better understand the concept and what you can do about it.

For examples of nonprofits whose websites have done a great job with responsive design, Nonprofit 2.0 has Three Nonprofits Pioneering Responsive Web Design. It includes screen captures of how the same site responds to different browsers.

4aGoodCause helpfully explains the difference between responsive web design and having a mobile website.

John Haydon has Three Steps to Creating a Responsive Design For Your Nonprofit Website.

P.S. Hearing others throw around marketing or communications terms or concepts and you aren’t sure what they are talking about? You probably aren’t alone, so email me and we’ll see about doing a quick post for you.