Responsive Web Design is the way to go. Even BING says so.


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Bing (who I’m not a fan of, which is why this is news) has come out in favor of responsive design, agreeing with the rest of us that mobile is not only here to stay, but that it’s the future we all need to design for.

This is very top-of-mind for me at the moment, because I’m currently drafting the redesign strategy for our company website, and responsive web design (RWD) figures prominently in it. Our company, like many of our kind, built a website years ago and we’ve been adding to it on an as needed basis for years.

This is simply the way the world works.

The problem is, as time goes on, technology changes, and a website that was state of the art becomes passe in an eyeblink. Add to this that many hands adding to the underlying code over time creates an often insane amount of code debt, and you can see why a periodic rebuilding of the entire site is the best possible option. This is further made difficult by the fact that in the financial industry, we are often compelled to make sitewide changes to remain compliant with federal, state and local laws. So the main focus of an IT group will be on keeping everything running smoothly and legally…less than keeping things on the cutting edge of technology.

This is true not just in the financial realm, but in any specialized arena that is highly regulated.

To this end I began creating a document to convince the stake-holders at my company that RWD was the way to go. And I found out some great data along the way, that you may find useful as well.

Despite the currently popular mantra, we can’t limit ourselves to thinking “mobile first”, because as Joe Stewart of Work & Company stated in his interview on the Responsive Web Design podcast:

“In terms of the overall way to think about the development and design process or responsive, some people like to say there’s a mobile-first way of looking at things, but, with responsive it’s everything first.”

Studies show that increasingly consumers are multi-device users. They begin the process on one device and then conclude/continue it on others. In addition, 51% or more multi-screen by using more than one device simultaneously. 50% or more begin their research on large purchases exclusively on smart phones, before finalizing their transactions on another device. (Source: Google The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-platform Consumer Behaviour)

We also know that a mobile-friendly site, especially for those of us who are “selling” things online, results in a better user experience and more satisfied customers. And in a competitive industry like ours, traction counts.

  • 75% of users are more likely to return if a site is mobile friendly
  • 53% of users lose faith in the brand if the site is not mobile friendly
  • 34% of users take their business elsewhere if a site is not mobile friendly

Why Not Build An App?

I can hear you saying this as I type.

Let’s face it, the “app” is the term of the moment in ecommerce. “We have an app!” or “Try our new app!” seems to be on the lips of everyone who is anyone in business…but here is a sobering statistic from Google’s 2013 “Mobile In-Store Research” document:

“65% of US smart-phone shoppers prefer to use mobile web to mobile apps for shopping”

Why is this? Well, some possible reasons are:

  • Although an app would be popular with existing users, new users, unfamiliar with a company are less likely to devote memory space on their phone/tablet to an app from a company they are not familiar with unless it provides news or a leisure time activity
  • Because of size restrictions on phones, apps are limited in both scope and use. They work best when serving up information that is text based and changes often, such as news, blog entries, managing bank accounts, etc
  • People will go to your website FIRST, and anyone going to the web site via mobile would still have a sub-standard “pinch & zoom” experience.

In addition, some considerations for your company would be:

  • Your technology team must now maintain and update 3 points of entry (Web + Android app + Apple App)…if the Windows phone gains market share this can quickly become 4 entry points
  • Although an app in your industry would have a myriad of B-to-B uses, does it have the same amount of uses for a B-to-C application? Beyond the “We have a cool app!” feature?
  • Apps, like old school web design, are not future-proof, and must be redesigned to keep up with technology

So Responsive Wins The Day

Or at least to my mind it does.

So the next few months of my life will be devoted to bringing the company I work for into this frame of mind. I’ll do my best to keep you updated on this process, and point out any tips or tricks I find along the way.

The future seems pretty exciting.

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