Responsive Design: Is this goodbye to my old web site?
June 23, 2012
As Quinn Interactive’s Sales Manager, I’ve noticed how rapidly the mobile web market is changing. To best advise our customers on what they’ll need to do in the future I’ve been reading up on all the statistical evidence about how fast things are changing in the mobile market and especially how web sites are going to be visited now and in the future.
I’m sharing my experiences from out in the field, since it’s important to understand how it affects us all, as it can be overwhelming.
First, some interesting statistics from a BBC News article from January 27th, “Web economy in G20 set to double by 2016, Google says.”
- Google thinks by 2016 about 80% of all internet users will access the web using a mobile phone.
- IBM estimates that by 2015, one trillion devices will be internet-connected.
- Researchers say that every household already researches about $3,000 worth of goods online before buying them in traditional stores.
That’s pretty amazing. It makes me think about how, from a web point of view, businesses will have to adapt to the mobile market and handle the fast changing requirements of their visitors.
Currently, what I’m seeing everywhere when I look across all markets, is a general lack of preparation. For example, the vast majority of web sites that I’ve come across are not mobile friendly yet. I can understand why many customers I speak with are concerned about cost and what they have to lose before they gain.
Some have just invested five years worth of budget into their latest launch and it’s something that they are really proud of. So the idea of needing another major upgrade is not necessarily welcome.
This conversation has been a common theme with local colleges for example. Many that I speak with who recently completed their site, now feel forced into yet another new project to make it mobile friendly as well.
The big question is… can they use what they already have to make it compatible with a mobile experience? Or, does the current site need to be completely lost in order to make it responsive? There are actually different schools of thought about Responsive Design best practices to make a site work in this way.
One opts for making separate sites for desk top, mobile and tablets. This approach has made sense to do this in the past but is now proving unnecessary in many instances.
The approach that Quinn prefers and maintains, is the “one site fits all” philosophy, where their site can ‘sense’ the technology it is accessing and auto configure to the needs of the visitor regardless of how they visit the site.
I found a great article, “Why We Shouldn’t Make Separate Mobile Websites” by Bruce Lawson at Smashing Magazine, who puts out a great argument for the latter approach which is worth a read. (And not too technical either.)
This technology, where one site does it all, sounds so much more digestible doesn’t it?
Depending on the framework and code base, it can be very doable. And it doesn’t have to involve throwing the baby out with the bath water. Often this can be accomplished working with an existing site’s design and code base. Naturally, we’d be happy to take a look at what you have to see if it can be made mobile friendly.
Of course, it’s still a project that takes planning and time, but it’s great to know that total overhauls and building different versions are not the only options available for getting a site mobile-friendly. Making a site cater to all the new devices out there can be done more easily than many people may think.
Sales Manager, Quinn Interactive, Inc.
Note: Here at Quinn Interactive, we’re cureently offering a free consultaion about Responsive Design and what it can do for your business. Please get in touch if you’d like to sign up and we’ll be very happy to talk with you.