There has been a lot of discussion about the benefits of Responsive Web Design (RWD) in both consumer and business-to-business markets, and we do see some of the large vendors and enterprise service providers investing in RWD. But, it is also important to note that RWD is no longer an option for business sites – large or small. It is a competitive necessity!Consumers, business partners and suppliers expect to have easy, intuitive access to a business site to get information or purchase a product or service. If the site is cumbersome to use on a Smart Phone or Tablet, or if it fails to accommodate a variety of screen sizes, a business will lose customers. Consumers today are more sophisticated and less patient with clumsy user interfaces. The evolution of RWD is a natural response to the increasing mobile, agile, flexible environment a user demands.
Increasing the traffic and use for a website, and monitoring traffic from tablets and mobile devices is a necessity if an enterprise wishes to build business and improve the traffic to the site or portal. There are obvious advantages to responsive web design in this regard:
- Reach your audience easily through tablet and mobile
- Improve conversion and sales ratio
- Consolidate analytics
- Improve search engine visibility
- Save cost and time in mobile development
- Simplify website maintenance.
In order to ensure the success of an RWD design, the business must identify the number of templates, controls and variations in the website. When working on an RWD project, the design phase is always more importance than the development phase. Smooth execution of an RWD project consists of:
- Identification of themes and design variations in the website, e.g., home page, inner page, profile page etc. Identification of controls used in the website e.g., Banner, Slider, Calendar control etc.
- Use of proven available frameworks e.g., Bootstrap, JQuery and others which will give you a base to create RWD, reduce the overall effort in development and test the output on different devices.
- Design and Review of each control on different devices and check rendering, loading, and usability before using them in actual development.
- Most developers focus on design, aesthetics, rendering flow and panning, but loading performance on mobile and tablet devices is also important. Most mobile and tablet devices have lower processing capacity then desktops, and use weaker networks, especially when they operate from a cellular network, so it is critical to consider loading sequence and mechanisms.
Once the above steps are satisfactorily completed, the business can proceed further, and develop the actual website in RWD. It may take more time to design and more time in the overall project life cycle, but RWD gives the business numerous advantages in that it provides ease of website maintenance, and is less costly and time-consuming than developing a separate website for each device.
While it may seem easier to create custom content for various devices rather than undertake the significant task of transitioning to responsive web design, it is important to note that, the increasing speed of technology evolution makes it virtually impossible to create custom content and site structure for every new mobile device, and screen size and configuration. RWD requires moderate business effort and investment and will ensure that MOST (if not ALL) users achieve a better experience.