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Moving Toward One Web: Mobile and Responsive Design

Graph showing global mobile versus desktop internet user projection 2007 to (estimated) 2015. In 2014, mobile internet should take over desktop internet usage and will continue to grow.

Global mobile versus desktop internet user
projections, according to Microsoft Exit Disclaimer

By the end of 2012, the number of smartphone users in the U.S. is projected to top 100 million. By 2014, most web browsing will take place from a mobile device, casting desktop browsing in the same category as landlines, music CDs, and TV without TiVo.

The Federal Government Digital Strategy requires us to meet mobile web surfers where they are. We have to meet them “anywhere, at anytime, using any device,” and CDC is at the forefront of this effort. Their “one web” strategy incorporates responsive design to meet the public in the palm of their hand.

Creating a Mobile Website Using Responsive Design

Illustration of how the Million Hearts™ website is displayed on desktop computers, tablets and smartphones.

The Million Hearts™ website displays
differently on different devices

In January of this year, CDC worked with teams across HHS to launch the Million Hearts™ website. Then in March, a second phase of the site was released incorporating the concepts of responsive design. The new site changes its look and feel to best-fit phones, tablets, or desktops. Tools behind the scenes make sure the images and content displayed on each device best fit its screen and user preferences. Implemented in multiple phases, Million Hearts™ is a site that was built with both desktop and mobile devices in mind from the start. That thinking allowed us to deploy responsive design much faster. Million Hearts™ was CDC’s first opportunity to work in responsive design. Many lessons were learned and we continue to improve the site.

Since 2009, CDC has maintained two sites—a traditional website best viewed by desktop, and a mobile site that has been formatted for use on phones and tablets. We now feel CDC will be best served by responsive design.

With the knowledge gained from launching Million Hearts™ in responsive design, we are in the process of updating the CDC website to be a single responsive design site. By early 2013, we will release this update and move away from maintaining both a desktop site and a separate mobile site.

The Federal Government Digital Strategy asks that we provide our audiences with access to information anytime, anywhere, and from any device. We also need to do that smartly, securely, and affordably. CDC is doing just that by adopting a “one web” strategy. With the growing variety of smartphones and tablets, and with the vast amount of content on CDC.gov, responsive is how we want to be seen.

What other HHS websites would you like to see use responsive design?

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Your Ideas

Submitted by Anonymous on
I think all HHS websites should have an option for mobile sites. People like to have their information on the fly, and also, many people are abandoning desktop for mobile only. To increase citizen engagement and awareness, all citizens should be able to view sites thoroughly and in its entirety.
Submitted by Anonymous on
All of them