Responsive web design (often abbreviated to RWD) is defined as an approach to web design in which a designer intends to provide an optimal viewing experience — easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling — across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones). Stated simply, a nonprofit website that is responsively designed will alter and format itself depending upon whether the visitor is viewing the website on a desktop, a tablet, or a smartphone. Why is this important? Because recent data from ComScore claims that mobile will surpass desktop in 2014, however, if smartphone and tablet sales continue on their current trajectory, that could easily happen late next year — and from my research, less than 1% of nonprofits are prepared for this fundamental shift in online communications.
If you have yet to view your nonprofit’s website on a tablet or smartphone, do so as soon as possible and be prepared to be a little shocked and somewhat dismayed — and hopefully inspired to take action. Nonprofits have been woefully slow at preparing for the Mobile Web. Responsive web design is rarely discussed or implemented in the nonprofit sector. At least twice a week on social media I see a pitch posted by a nonprofit to visit their new website and the first thing I do is enter their URL into my iPhone and then on my iPad only to sadly, tragically discover that their new website is already out of date from the moment it launched.
All that said, if your nonprofit is currently in the process of redesigning your website or it’s on the list for 2013, then please prioritize making your website compatible for the Mobile Web. To get you started, you can study the exceptional examples of responsive web design pioneered by the three nonprofits listed below:
1. World Wildlife Fund :: worldwildlife.org
2. Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh :: pittsburghkids.org
3. Boot Campaign :: bootcampaign.com