Responsive design rules!

Jun 09, 2015 by Mark Baines Category: Brand Design

Fact: 61% of web traffic now comes from mobiles!

Yet how many websites are mobile friendly? Apparently only 33% of Fortune 100 companies (source: Tech Crunch).

As it happens, I can’t remember when we at Marcom last designed a site that wasn’t responsive. I obviously need to be directing my New Business efforts at Fortune 100 companies!

Google now favours mobile responsive sites, and the increasing use of mobiles is throwing up all sorts of challenges for marketers and designers alike, such as adaptive content strategies. ‘Time to start designing from mobile up,’ most people would say! ‘Forget the desktop – that’s yesterday’s technology!’ ‘The tablet? Nah – just a passing trend!’

But let’s look behind the trends for a moment.

Is there still a role for the desktop? Well, just maybe it’s the most important appliance in the marketer’s armoury:

Q: E-commerce: it’s one thing to buy a low-cost item on your phone, but are you seriously going to book flights, for you and your family’s summer holiday, on your phone?

A: No. The evidence says that these big value items (ie cost, complexity and importance) are done on desktops and tablets.

Q: Viewing: can you really imagine a teenager buying new clothes on the phone?

A: No. The evidence suggests that people who want to do research and get a good look at what they are considering will do it on a desktop or tablet.

Q: Business to business: would you really place a £1m order with a company you’ve only seen on your phone?

A: No. You might check them out in the back of a taxi on your way back from a meeting – but that’s a long way from searching, analysing and purchasing. In business, most people sit at a desk behind a laptop – why would they bother to use their phones?

The evidence suggests that people for whom the mobile is the main web access point are either regular users of public transport or don’t have easy access to a desktop. This makes them more likely to be poorer, younger and blue collar.

So what’s the message?

It’s certainly not to start by designing for mobiles unless you see this group as your main market. Rather it’s to ensure that mobiles are an important part of your strategy, but you have to be led by what happens on the desktop/tablet interface and ensure that mobiles follow close behind.

In other words, don’t throw away your desktop/tablet design strategy yet: responsive design rules!

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