1. Gayle Haugen


    Great list of pros/cons for responsive intranet design. Your article affirms the need to 1) understand audience delivery needs, and 2) understand audience content needs. After that analysis is done, starting with the big wins and expanding is surely the way to go.

    With mobility becoming the ultimate customer service, organizations should absolutely be considering RWD for their intranet.

    Great article!


  2. Emily Staresina

    Thanks for posting this article, James. There’s a lot of hype around responsive design and it’s nice to read an article that clearly balances the pros and cons.

  3. Good points, but… can one really make a clear dividing line between the needs of the desktop user and the mobile user? Can we be sure they have distinct and different needs based on gadget? I mean, I can sit by my desk and suddenly switch to an iPad or an iPhone – well, am I in mobile user needs mode or a desktop user needs mode then, sitting there? Yes, I think user needs differ when I’m at my desk and when I’m away from my desk, but only by 10-20%. Basic work needs is always there, no matter if and where I’m sitting or standing. And I do not think we automatically can make the assumption “mobile” equals “away from my desk”. You can be in office, using the intranet with a 320px display – and you can be away from your desk, using a laptop. And the iPad is really in the middle, equally usable in both “modes”.

    Some of the rwd weaknesses you have listed is possible to fix with rwd, e. g. displaying links as buttons in lower resolutions, skip links to parts of the intranet in small resolutions and “repacking” forms to a touch-friendly format. I think maybe only the size issue is non fixable with rwd.

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Published July 31, 2012

James Robertson
James Robertson is the Managing Director of Step Two, the global thought leaders on intranets, headquartered in Sydney, Australia. James is the author of the best-selling books Essential intranets, Designing intranets and What every intranet team should know. He has keynoted conferences around the globe. (Follow him on Twitter)