In fact, an inadequate mobile site could cost colleges prospective students.

Fifty-two percent of prospective college students said they had viewed a school’s website on a mobile device in 2011—more than double the percentage from 2010. Forty-eight percent of those students said the mobile site experience bettered their view of the campus, according to a survey conducted by higher-education consulting company Noel-Levitz and the National Research Center for College & University Admissions.

And more Americans will access the internet through a smart phone or tablet than via desktop computer by 2015, according to a September report from International Data Corporation (IDC).

Arizona State University’s online program, ASU Online, is among the few examples of colleges and universities that have adopted RWD, drawing praise from a host of web-design sites that included ASU Online among the best examples of RWD on the internet.

Joly said that within a couple years, colleges and universities will have no choice but to use the RWD approach.

“It’s really going to be the next big step forward in web design,” she said. “But it’s no surprise that RWD examples in higher education don’t abound yet even though this approach of designing once for all devices might be the most efficient way to maintain and future-proof higher-ed websites.”


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