In the smartphone era, having a single version of your website may no longer satisfy the public or, more specifically, the various shapes and sizes of the public’s mobile phones. Today’s consumers demand interfaces that work equally well whether they’re viewed on a laptop, tablet or mobile device.
Out of this demand came ‘responsive web design’, a new method of coding that automatically detects the screen size of the viewer’s browser and tailors the layout and formatting of online content accordingly. For example, instead of having to zoom-in in order to view small text, responsive design automatically optimises the experience for the users specific device. Despite the popularity of this new approach to website design – it even made the ecommerce marketing checklist for 2013 – companies have been slow to invest the time and money necessary to create websites that render perfectly regardless of which device is using them. But why?
In part this may be due to a widespread misunderstanding of cost. Although it is (marginally) more expensive to create a responsive website than its traditional counterpart, the long term benefits translate into increased efficiency and more money for those savvy enough to employ them. So, just what are the advantages of responsive web design?
– Responsive websites can be updated from a single content-management system, drastically reducing maintenance costs and time spent on content management and web maintenance.
– They also remove the need to maintain a ‘device database’ specifying which device gets which website version. Considering the speed at which new handsets reach the market, this database must otherwise be as large as it is unnecessary.
Increased marketing budget efficiency and fewer missed opportunities:
– Any link or social media leading to a responsive website will take consumers to a single website, regardless of the device they use. Therefore, there is no need to promote both desktop and mobile sites through paid staff or outsourcing, halving the off-page budget.
– Similarly, due to the automated nature of responsive websites, device specific content errors are practically eliminated (for example, a laptop user unintentionally finding his or herself on a mobile site and ‘bouncing’ off again straight away).
– Having only one set of analytics makes data analysis and strategy development far easier, resulting in a welcome increase in marketing budget efficiency.
– Responsive websites are also far easier for consumers to find than traditional sites as they come up significantly higher in search engine rankings, leading to more traffic.
Perhaps most importantly, responsive design is what the end users have come to expect. Appeasing them is a sure fire way to increase online sales and leave them feeling valued, included and catered for, and not just part of some minor, mobile-using demographic unworthy of a company’s full attention.
If you would like to find out more about ‘going mobile’ or any other user experience issue give us a call free on 08000 246 247 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.