Responsive Web Design as Part of Your Web Strategy

May 10, 2016
Vicki Bettger-Marte

As of the end of 2015, 51% of all media viewing was done on mobile devices compared to 42% on desktop. And while mobile phone e-commerce conversion still lags behind, tablets, including iPad, Android, and Kindle, are showing conversion rates that equal those of desktop devices.*

With statistics like these, it seems logical to conclude that every website should be easily viewable and highly usable on varying phone and tablet devices. Still, we see many businesses push their mobile strategies to another day - sometimes due to cost concerns, other times due to perceptions of effort required.

Whatever the reason, having a usable mobile website will lead to a quantifiable increase in use, conversion and retention.  And, because of this, the following excuses don’t seem hold up anymore:

  • “We can just do our mobile website later.”
  • “Users that really want to view our content, will look at it on their PC.”
  • “As long as key pages are mobile-friendly, we’ll be fine.”
  • “Users don’t make serious purchases on mobile devices.”

What is the Best Mobile Web Approach?

There are a few options available when considering a mobile web strategy. These include deploying a select number of pages as mobile-friendly, such as landing pages and microsites; creating a unique adaptive website; or deploying a fully responsive website.

While there are certainly reasons to develop unique landing pages, microsites and adaptive web sites, the most comprehensive choice for most companies is to build a responsive web site. Here are a few of the reasons why:

  • Statistics tell the story. Users are increasingly using mobile devices to search, browse and transact. These users may traverse a number of devices while engaging your product. Any hiccup in the experience could cause a user to give up or, worse, move to a competitor.
  • Design once, view anywhere. Responsive web design is the only approach that allows you to design your site once for all devices, no matter what the viewing orientation. This eliminates the work around creating unique or slightly different versions of your site for different devices.
  • Streamlined, cost-effective development. Responsive web design removes issues and time in the area of development optimization for multiple devices. While you may spend a bit more time and money on design, you will reap the benefits of a more streamlined development and testing phase as well as less user complaints post-launch.
  • Simplified content and SEO management. Unlike adaptive design and unique mobile landing pages and microsites, content editors and SEO managers will only need to manage one domain and, thus, one set of templates and pages. When deploying a unique adaptive site, landing pages, or microsites, editors and managers will be forced to manage duplicate content and more complex tagging structures that will impact efficiency and publishing times.

 Responsive Web Design as Part of Your Web Strategy

Once you’ve decided that Responsive Web Design is an integral part of you web strategy, the next step is to develop a plan that incorporates mobile considerations. Here are a few steps to get you started.

  • Clearly update and/or define your web strategy to include mobile use.
  • Give time to the upfront strategy and design phases, knowing that development will be streamlined and users will have a better experience that will extend your brand.
  • To make sure your mobile strategy and design are thorough, make a list of relevant phones and tablets of varying sizes and varying use cases. Remember that TVs and wearable devices might be included in your users’ needs. Eliminate outlier devices that provide little value for your user set.
  • Have clear goals for desktop and varying mobile devices. Determine if any key differences should exist.
  • Determine if you will need companion mobile apps as part of your strategy.
  • Work with a team of experts that know how to assist in mobile strategy, design, and development.

 

*http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/