Why Responsive Web Design Matters

Every day more than a million mobile devices are being put into the hands of consumers. In the US, those consumers spend more than 2 hours per day using mobile apps and websites. That’s twice as much time as they spend surfing the web on a desktop computer. Across more than 100 sites that we maintain, 35% of people are using iPhones, iPads and Android devices.

The web design landscape is changing and we saw this trend more than a year ago. That’s why we  changed our approach to design. We no longer design sites for a fixed 1024×768 computer monitor. We create simple, responsive prototype layouts in HTML with actual content so our customers can interact with them on multiple devices and screen sizes. We show content when appropriate and hide it when it’s not. Sometimes we target 2 different screen sizes, sometimes it’s 5 – it depends on the application.

What is Responsive Web Design?

It’s a cost effective way of visually changing how a website or web application looks for different visitors without having to build separate versions.

The best way to understand it is to see it in action. Take a look at one of our simpler sites, Cozy Trucking, on both your desktop and mobile phone or tablet. They look different right? Look again. The content is nearly identical, we’ve just rearranged the pieces of the puzzle. One web page and one set of content to maintain that responds to different screen sizes.

You can get more complex with it as well. For the Horizon League, we rearrange schedules, news articles, images and video. In some cases we hide what’s not important from small screens.

The Business Case

Still not convinced that responsive web design matters, here are a few more facts for the bottom line:

  • In 2011, PayPal did more than $4 billion in mobile payments while eBay sold more than $5 billion in merchandise on mobile devices.
  • For the past three years, mobile devices have been quickly eroding the 20 year dominance of Microsoft Windows.
  • 28.5% of US consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site this Thanksgiving holiday.
  • On Black Friday this year, Apple’s iPad contributed to 10% of online shopping, followed by the iPhone at 8.7% and Android devices at 5.5%.

In 2013, if you fail to address the user experience on mobile devices you’re leaving money on the table.

Sources: Why Mobile Matters • Data Monday: Mobile Holiday Shopping • The Rise and Fall of Personal Computing