Responsive Design is the latest buzz word in the world of website development. For the last year, PTC Computer Solutions has been fielding the question of “Should we have a Responsive web design or not?” The answer is not a simple one. It really depends on what your objectives are. The idea behind it is that it is responsive to the user interface. So, whether the user is accessing your website with a desktop, tablet, or smartphone, they should receive the same or similar content adjusted for their interface. It sounds like it should be the way to go…or does it?
The keys to a good responsive design are to ensure the experience is equally enjoyable whether the user is accessing through their smartphone or on their desktop or anywhere in between. The issue with this is that there is not always the same objective when a user is accessing from any of these interfaces. Therefore, a responsive design may not be the best solution for your users.
Think of it from the perspective of the user. If a prospect is accessing your website from a smartphone, they are likely looking for information from your website that is time sensitive, geographically scoped, or contact oriented in nature. They are not typically accessing your site for any other reason from their smartphone.
Whereas, when a prospect is accessing a website from a desktop interface, it is more likely to be a part of research that is being performed. This research may be to research company information or to find out more about a company. This is a completely different section of the site from where they might land in the event of using a smartphone. So, it would be a better scenario to provide them a different experience.
Ideally, separate website experiences should be created for each interface medium a user might access a website. This can be done dynamically by reading the interface the user is interacting from upon accessing the website. Ask yourself whether you need something that is responsive to the user or whether it is important to deliver a mobile-centric interface for them. A Dynamic website would be ideal, but there is more programming and likely more cost associated with this type of design. So, choosing your design mode is of critical importance. Here is a list of Pros and Cons we have found useful for each of these:
1 URL for both versions, no duplicationEasier and cheaper to maintainPopularity consolidationNo need for redirections
- Cons:Possible redesign needLess differentiation of Mobile ContentLower mobile focused user experience
- Pros:Easier implementationCapacity to differentiate mobile contentBetter mobile user experience
- Cons:Content duplication riskSplit of link popularityHigher cost of maintenance
- Pros:1 URL for both versions, no duplicationPopularity consolidationCapacity to differentiate mobile contentBetter mobile user experience
- Cons:Complexity of technical implementationHigher cost of maintenance
Know what you are wanting to deliver before embarking in any one direction. If you are likely to be delivering content to people on the move, then go with a mobile site. Otherwise, look at the Responsive potential. If your users might be coming in to certain aspects of your website from different media to access different portions of your site, you should consider a dynamic design whereby you can provide the best options for just the mobile aspects needed to a smartphone interface. Consider your options before you get started.
If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan. PTC can plan a full marketing strategy and budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects. Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.
By David W. B. Parker
PTC Computer Solutions