Go Responsive or Go Home

According to Pew Research Center, 68 percent of Americans own a smartphone, 42 percent own a tablet, and one out of every five Americans report that they go online “almost constantly”. The time to go responsive is now.

Not very long ago it was the norm to design a traditional website first and eventually convert that site to a mobile-friendly version. Today the push to design for mobile devices is the number one priority of web developers and UX designers. Responsive web design became the focal point for web developers when they realized that consumers of every generation were using the internet far more often than in previous years and that the majority of users were moving to mobile. In order to appeal to a broad spectrum of users, web designers and developers needed to come up with a way to provide an optimal web design format that would meet the needs of users across multiple devices.

Responsive design allows users to navigate and interact easily with a website no matter which device they’re accessing that site from. A study conducted by Internet Retailer found that “75 percent of store shoppers use their mobile device while shopping in the store.” They are comparing prices, reading reviews, rating customer service, and commenting on items. Twenty five percent of those shoppers are also making online purchases while they shop in the store. E-commerce is just one example of the important role responsive design plays in consumer demand and user experience.

Even businesses that do not sell products or services need a website that is efficient to stay relevant and keep the user engaged. For example, nonprofits running a fundraising campaign can’t afford to have a website that is sluggish or difficult to navigate. The easier it is for people to donate, the more likely they are to give.  In fact, nonprofits with responsive websites receive double the donations from users on mobile devices. Conversion rates are higher on responsive sites because users don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to find the information they’re looking for or to take action once they land on a page. Responsive design is the only format that can deliver the same experience on various mobile and non-mobile devices.

Despite the importance of responsive design, the concept of user experience had to be redefined to accommodate the efficiency that responsive design offers in order to keep up with user expectations. One of the biggest challenges UX designers face is how to create an intuitive experience without losing aesthetic features across different devices. The process of getting it right through numerous tests and often several redesigns affects how quickly developers can get the website done, but the results are worth the time and effort. Ultimately, designing a system that users can navigate without thinking is what will keep them coming back.

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Published On: Jan 23, 2016