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Every trade journal and business site is abuzz with articles and blogs about Responsive Web Design (RWD). Consider the articles published during 2013, in a single day:Global e-retailer Modnique launched the Responsive Web Design (RWD) version of their website, optimizing for screen sizes as small as the iPhone, and as large as 36-inch monitors, to allow their customers to interact and shop on Modnique from any device.
“With over 30 percent of our visits coming from smartphones and tablets, we decided to refocus the team to design for mobile first,” said Leon Kuperman, CTO of Modnique.

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Yet another article highlights the lag time of retailers in the U.K., stating that 49 out of 50 top retailers do not have responsive websites. Only one of the top 50 U.K. retailers (Clogg’s, a Venda company) has designed and launched a responsive site that automatically adapts according to the device being used.

“Consumer behavior has changed rapidly over the last few years and this trend shows only signs of acceleration,” says Eric Abensur, CEO, Venda. “We now use phones, televisions, laptops, desktops and soon even glasses and watches to access our favorite brands and retailers. The answer lies in a suite of technology and design techniques which are collectively referred to as Responsive Web Design.”

If there is a global push toward Responsive Web Design (RWD) and a recognition of the need to accommodate the various sizes and configurations of tablet and smart phone screens, why is there such a disparity in retailer approach and business models? Why is it that some companies are rushing toward Responsive Web Design, while others cling to the belief that it is just another ‘flavor of the month’?

There is no doubt that RWD will give your business the best price to performance ratio. While it is impossible to provide exacting accommodation for every device in today’s changing mobile device market, RWD will give your business meaningful flow and display among most of the devices, and that is exactly what consumers and business users expect.

If you want to increase the use of tablets and mobile devices to browse your blog, website, intranet or portal; if you want customers and prospects to find your products, information or services, it is critical that you upgrade and approach your site and portal designs using responsive web design techniques and methods. RWD demands that the design phase be given critical focus, as this is where your business will build the foundation for success.

Many businesses believe that RWD is too expensive to consider and that may be the reason that global retailers are so slow to adopt the technology. Retailers operate on famously slim profit margins and often give short shrift to technology. With appropriate focus and an upfront investment in RWD, retailers and all other manner of businesses will find that the investment will reap positive ROI and TCO. As the site evolves, the business and IT team will find it easier to make changes and will avoid the pitfalls of having to maintain multiple sites to accommodate multiple mobile devices.

Here is the bottom line: If your business does not embrace RWD, it will lose market share – and soon! Users and customers have no patience for sites that are difficult to navigate, and their frustration will push them away from your site (and products and services). While it will cost you something to make your site compliant with mobile devices and tablets there are numerous advantages:

1. Ease of reaching your audience
2. Improvement in conversion and sales ratio
3. Consolidated analytics
4. Improved search engine visibility
5. Cost and time savings for mobile development
6. Ease of site maintenance

With appropriate requirements planning and a thorough design phase, responsive web design can add to your bottom line, reduce future design expenses and time, and increase customer satisfaction.

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