When the NBA a unveiled new, responsive, website for the Philadelphia 76ers in May of 2014, fans may not have initially noticed the leap forward in design and technology. On the other hand, as a user interface and interaction designer working in the sports industry, I was excited to see the league and its teams embrace responsive web design.

According to Wikipedia, “Responsive web design (RWD) is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites 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 mobile phones to desktop computer monitors).”

The “mobile first” mantra of responsive design advocates targets users where, or, more accurately how, they’re accessing web content. Considering the NBA “generated more than 60 percent of its overall digital traffic from mobile platforms” during the 2013-14 season, RWD is an obvious and natural fit.

“We’ve seen record growth across mobile platforms and moving to a responsive design helps us deliver the best fan experience across all screens,” said Christina Miller, senior vice president and general manager of NBA Digital, as reported by Time Warner.

 

Another benefit of RWD is its simplicity. Traditional mobile sites require creating and maintaining two separate sets of code. Alternatively, responsive sites use one code base to display content on mobile, tablet and desktop browsers. This streamlines development and content management.

With the Sixers and the NBA as early adopters, it will be interesting to see how and when other organizations in Philadelphia, and leagues nationwide, embrace the concept of the responsive web.

For more examples of RWD sites, please click here.

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