We recently read a blog post that sparked an interesting debate in After Digital HQ. The blog discussed why the company had shied away from responsive web design, after they had already implemented responsive templates throughout their site. From the design and front-end development team to digital marketing and sales, everyone in the agency had something to say on the matter.
So, has this company made a drastic mistake or pointed out some valid points for consideration about the way you approach responsive website design?
Responsive web design has been one of the hottest topics of discussion in the digital world over the last year or two. Inevitably the way technology has advanced has massively manipulated the way in which users consume media and information, particularly the proliferation of the smart phone and rapid growth in sales of tablet devices. Consequently, organisations from all sectors and spheres have had to evaluate how they cater to this audience online, so as to not miss out on critical opportunities to connect and engage.
However, just because responsive design is proving a popular web design solution for rendering effectively across platforms and devices does not mean it is the correct approach for every business or project. In the words of our Managing Director, Neil Barr; “Not everything needs to be or should be responsive”.
As designer Daisy Swain says; “websites should be built in the way that best fulfils the requirements of the customer”. Solid business objectives should underline all decisions made within an organisation, promoting consistency and measurability, and ensuring you never lose sight of why you are doing what you are doing. For some companies having an online offering that caters to a mobile audience may be completely irrelevant. Therefore, it is through an effective business review and customer analysis process, such as that of After Digital8™, that both you and your digital agency will be able to identify the best possible digital solution for you.
While responsive web design is not for everyone, many argue the case that it presents a cost-effective means of safeguarding your website against future technological advances. Front-end developer, Greg McAusland, says; “accessibility and user experience is our primary goal and currently there’s almost never a user case whereby anything is better than responsive. I’m not saying getting responsive right is easy, but building statically has no benefit over responsive design outside timescales and the ability of the staff to deliver it.”
Admittedly responsive design takes longer to develop, implement and test, but the hope is that investing in a cross-platform solution in the early stages will prevent you having to revise your web presence and redevelop it in the future, saving significant time and money in the long-term.
Companies often quote a low volume of traffic from mobiles as a reason not to consider responsive website design. Of course, the starting point should be a review of your current performance and analytics to identify the source of your traffic, but even 2% of total site traffic can be significant if your website receives a fair volume of visitors. What’s more, it is important to note that responsive web design is not solely a solution for seamless mobile browsing - “Responsive is not a mobile web solution, it’s a flexible device size solution. Yes that’s mobiles, but it’s also widescreens, desktop computers, laptops, netbooks and tablets,” says Greg.
To conclude, as with any project we approach it is all about the individual client and their organisation’s and users’ needs. As, front-end developer Darren Huskie says; “both responsive and non-responsive solutions definitely have their place.”