Is Your Website Responsive Enough?

Good design can help your site look its best on mobile devices—but be aware of the challenges.

May 2, 2014

Responsive Web design has become a hot topic, especially as most consumers start their house hunt online. Brokerage sites with responsive design have coding that allows them to automatically adjust for viewing on desktops, smartphones, tablets, and other devices.

It’s easy to see why RWD is growing in popularity. According to NAR’s 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 89 percent of new home shoppers use a mobile search engine and 68 percent use a mobile application when doing research on homes for sale.

But does that mean that RWD is right for your brokerage? Luke Wroblewski, a leader in RWD and CEO and cofounder of mobile design company Input Factory Inc., offers some advice on how to determine if responsive design is the route for your company’s website.

RWD is for you if…

  • You want adjustable layouts. The layout of your website will adjust to fit the screen of the device the visitor is using.
  • Complete optimization for specific devices isn’t critical. Images and videos on your site will adjust automatically, but they will still be downloaded at full size when a user opens your site on a mobile device. That means it might take a little longer for the page to load on mobile devices.
  • You don’t trust device detection. Device detection is meant to reproduce a website originally designed for desktop viewing on mobile devices. But that doesn’t always happen effectively. RWD ensures that the proper adjustments have been made.

But you may want a separately designed mobile Web page or an app if…

  • Site performance and optimization is your top priority. To avoid a slow download because of image sizes on your site, designing a mobile site or app will let you tailor image sizes and improve speed when users connect to your site.
  • You want a custom mobile experience. You can design features specific to a mobile site or app that wouldn’t work well on a desktop site.
  • You trust device detection. A Web page designed specifically for mobile won’t have issues reproducing correctly on mobile screens.

For more, download the Center for REALTOR® Technology's primer on the benefits of responsive design.

Graham Wood
Senior editor

Graham Wood is senior editor for REALTOR® Magazine. He can be reached at