Is Responsive Website Design the need of the hour?
In the modern world buoyed by the use of technology, there is an increasing number of users who are accessing the Internet from various mobile platforms and devices. In fact, the number continues to grow by the minute. Thus, it is imperative that online businesses make their websites easily accessible to the mobile users, with the exception of those who are not concerned about missing out on a large section of their target market that is witnessing a rapid growth round-the-clock.
A mobile friendly website design becomes the need of the hour if your prospective customers are more likely to be surfing website content on their mobile screens. The commonly accepted practice suggests that the best bet for a business to create a fully functional mobile website is the use of responsive website design. At least, that holds true if much of the latest conventional wisdom is to be believed.
Scenarios where Responsive Web Design may not be so responsive
At first look, the use of a Responsive Web Design to connect with customers across all online access platforms seems to make perfect sense. Responsive design is a methodology where various website elements are allowed to resize and reshape themselves according the screen size on which it is being viewed. This form of design can look elegant while offering a whole new dimension of functionalities to any and every website.
However, while it has undoubtedly been proven useful, responsive design can also bring about a number of serious failures in terms of web design when implied under the wrong circumstances. Let us now take a look at some of these scenarios.
#1. Responsive Website design is not always necessary
Most individuals find building a fully functional desktop website to be much more difficult as compared to that for a mobile platform. When a business already has a desktop website, it is unlikely they will be tearing it down and replacing it with one for responsive mobile experience.
A better alternative would be to create a mobile friendly adaptive version of the same desktop website and program the pages in such a way that they redirect everytime someone accesses the content from a smartphone or tablet. Apart from being simpler and much cheaper to make use of, there are also a number of other potential advantages to this practice.
#2. Responsive design is heavy and impacts browsing speed
A research conducted specifically on the mobile users for a number of websites has revealed that they expect a site load speed similar to that of the corresponding desktop version. Responsive website design often proves to be a disappointment for these users as it leads to extremely high bounce rates that practically have the complete opposite effect to what businesses were ideally hoping to achieve through their new website.
Browsing on mobile devices is often reliant on lighter resources and weaker connectivity as opposed to what is seen with a desktop website. Hence, designing a mobile website that is light and capable of loading quickly becomes the need of the hour for all businesses. The ideal timeframe is three seconds although the amount of content plays a hugely decisive role. This is one area where responsive design has been found to fail quite often although there is a scope for it to be addressed.
Opting for a lean mobile website design is one way of eliminating this problem quickly and with relative ease.
#3. It has been found to affect the conversion rates
While a responsive website is supposed to make best use of the available screen on a mobile device, it has been found that an Adaptive design actually pips it in this regard. This has a high impact on the conversions and no client will be looking to compromise on it simply to opt for a responsive design- conversion is what drives sales.
While responsive design is capable of achieving visual outcomes similar to that of an adaptive design, their application is not practical for every occasion. When executed properly, an adaptive design will be able to deliver better returns as opposed to a responsive website design and this holds particularly true where complex interfaces are involved.
Adaptive or Responsive, which road to choose?
None of the aforementioned reasons, though, are meant to stress that responsive website design is wrong. In fact, it is far from the truth. Also, it does not imply that businesses should focus only on development using conventional mobile site formats. Nevertheless, it is important that businesses take some time out to think which of the two will provide the best and most optimized experience for their users while focussing on all their needs before deciding on the use of a responsive or adaptive web design format.