Part III: It’s Time to Make the Right Decision About Mobile Design

July 23, 2013 | Posted in B2B, Technology and tagged , , , ,

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We get it. Compared to traditional site design initiatives, adaptive and responsive design projects can feel enormous—they require more time, more budget, and they seem to provide more than you might think you need today.

This is Part III of a weekly 3-part series focusing on Mobile Design, targeted at specific devices and contexts, and whether it’s right for your business. In Part II, we considered the cases where adaptive design may be better than responsive design. With this article, we’ve offered some thoughts on why it’s important to make the choice and move forward with a mobile design strategy.

Since world-class companies and large-budget businesses use responsive design, it might feel like an overreaction to small to medium-size business problems, causing owners to wonder: isn’t there a solution that feels proportional to the size and marketing budget of my business?

The cold, hard truth is that there isn’t.  And the reason why is simple: consumer expectations of a good online experience don’t change from one business size to the next.  While consumers might expect a large, well-known brand to have extra bells and whistles on its web site, while expecting a small, local shop to have a little less, they still expect that, at absolute least, they be able to navigate each site easily, and without frustration.

And, isn’t that the fundamental goal of responsive web design? To welcome your customers effectively on whatever device they use to find you? The basic math is simple: the more likely your users are to reach you on a non-desktop device, the more of your revenue is riding on mobile web design. But, even for businesses without evidence of heavy engagement from users on non-desktop devices, it’s only a matter of time.

Consider this: 45% of U.S. adults own smartphones; 25% own tablets; among smartphone owners, 79% self-report as “smartphone shoppers”, with 17% of adults self-reporting as “frequent smartphone shoppers.” Even among users who don’t make shopping transactions online, 40% of adults reported having made prior purchase decisions using their smart phones as the only tool for evaluation. 44% of adults reported having made prior purchase decisions using their tablets as the exclusive evaluation tool. With statistics like these, can your business afford not to pursue responsive web design?

The final piece is simple: if you’re going to do it, do it right. Choose a reputable web service provider who can walk you through what needs to be done and why, and who can justify the effort and cost required to do it.  At the end of the day, quality is what matters most.  Customers won’t want to do business with you, without it.

Data Sources:  Mobile Path to Purchase 2013 study, Google Shopper Marketing Council – April 2013, Pew Internet Research Surveys, September and October 2012

About Scott Weiss

Scott Weiss is the founder of Somethumb, a creative services agency focused on web design and development. "Like" us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, "Plus-One" us on Google+, "Connect" with us on LinkedIn, and view our portfolio on Somethumb.com.

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