With more and more people accessing the internet using mobile devices, it is becoming increasingly important for designers and developers to ensure that their websites are compatible with a smaller screen. Many practitioners of mobile web design believe that they can undertake responsive design using a device-agnostic approach – but is this actually a true statement?
Firstly, what is the device-agnostic approach? As we should all know what a device is, we’ll move on to defining the term ‘agnostic’ before putting them together. According to Dictionary.com, an agnostic is “a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.”
A device-agnostic approach, then, is having an understanding that the website you build should not be dependent on knowing what device it will be displayed on. In other words, your website should not be tied to particular device (as has been common in the past when sites were created solely for use on a desktop or laptop computer) as it cannot know what device it will be viewed on.
So, when those working on mobile web designs say that they are creating a responsive design using a device-agnostic approach, they are actually repeating themselves. The whole purpose of a responsive website is that the page will automatically resize itself according to the size of the screen it is being viewed upon – taking a device-agnostic approach is essentially doing the same thing.