Responsive web design is the new buzzword in the website designing fraternity and this approach is believed to cater to new challenges caused by ever- evolving technologies and devices. In responsive design the websites are developed in such a way that the layout changes to accommodate different display environments of various sizes. The main aim here is to develop scalable contents for desktops, laptops, mobile phones and tablets without making any changes to the design template. Most importantly, this is done to provide the end-user with a rich viewing experience regardless of the device he uses.

In the past couple of years, the leading website developers are expressing different views on this subject. Most of them believe “largest-size-fits-all” approach is best suited for the simpler designs of the past, but the times have changed now. A new device is launched every day so there is a need to use flexible layouts which adapt to any screen sizes without any hassles.

Check out this interesting slideshare where Sara Cannon explores the various responsive web design techniques.

On the other hand there have been developers who oppose responsive design and feel it might not really work in the current scenario. The first and foremost reason is the cost involved in developing such a site. Generally a responsive design website costs much more than the simple once and it could be hard to get that kind of the money out of the customers’ pocket. They also feel it could be a waste of time as a well-designed website works perfectly well in any given environment. They also claim that the content management system and browser’s speed is not the same as HTML5 and CSS3′s speed, which are the building blocks of any responsive designs. So the chances of achieving the optimal speed through this approach would be bleak.

Though the concept is still in its nascent stage, most developers are positive and upbeat about their discovery as they see a new trend emerging in the business world. The sale of smartphones has surpassed the sale of desktops and laptops combined in February 2011. It is predicted that total number of people accessing internet over the mobile devices could soon outnumber the people accessing the net on computers. This is because the mobile devices are becoming more capable and less expensive.

This is the right time for the developers to switch over to responsive web designs and stay abreast of the latest development in their field. Responsive design, not only provides the end-user with pleasant viewing experience , but also increases the traffic to the site, and in turn, the site ranks higher in the search engine. This result in increased sales and overall business profitability. The developers who don’t wake-up to the markets dynamics might lose the traffic and eventually lose their business to their competitors.

Responsive web design might be the smart choice to seize the emerging opportunities, but it is still a new concept. Only the time can tell if it was a passing fad or novel standard practice in the website development community.