Size matters.

We’re strong proponents of the “content is king” mantra for higher ed websites. But, if reading our content is cumbersome on smaller screens will we miss an opportunity to make a connection?

Enter responsive design.

It’s new. It’s exciting. You won’t believe you ever lived without it! Those crazy web designers and programmers have done it again. Just start with a common blender. Add your code, strong coffee, Funyuns (to taste), some more code, and yes maybe just a few tears. Blend for several months… and… Voila! A beautiful and responsive site!

Warning: Side effects among your visitors may include euphoria, uncontrolled tears of joy and doing the Dougie.

Mathew Burns takes a fresh perspective of the Sunken Garden with the Wren Building in the background. (Photo by Stephen Salpukas)

In a nutshell, responsive design allows friendly display of your web content in any web enabled device. This means a great experience for the visitor using a desktop at home as well as the visitor reading your news on a phone at the airport.

Granted, arrangement of the content across the different-sized devices is not necessarily going to be the same. And here’s where the fun begins. A 4″ phone screen cannot handle a 3-column layout, right? But don’t you just love that beautiful 3-column layout on a full-size monitor?

With a new bag of tricks we’ll present our existing content to best fit the detected width of every visitor’s device. (And, oh yeah, this will work in IE too.) Best of all, nothing will change for our diligent web editors using our current CMS. It’ll be business as usual creating King Content.

You may remember that we already dabbled in responsive design with our homepage. Since then we’ve created an inventory of all our pages, images, plugins, whatzits and doohickeys and mapped out a plan… Complete responsive W&M this summer, then on to our graduate and professional schools!

– Mark Windley