Is Responsive Design Right for Your Mobile Customer?

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Click through for key considerations organizations should examine before they decide to incorporate responsive Web design, as identified by Roland Campbell, director of solution engineering at Usablenet.

There’s no doubt that the debate around responsive Web design (RWD) has reached the entry level of most organizations, achieving elevated status as a simple way to reach consumers on the Web, regardless of the device they use to access the Internet.

But is responsive design really the right approach to engage your mobile customers?

Roland Campbell, director of solution engineering at Usablenet, can imagine what you’re thinking: “What do you mean? Of course responsive design is right for our mobile customer. Everyone is doing responsive design now, and even Google is advocating for it!”

Before we break out the torches and pitchforks, let’s think about what Google is really saying. Sure Google recommends responsive design as a way for developers to extend content to mobile devices, but they offer mobile specific versions of Gmail and Google Plus, two of their flagship products. With one search field and blocks of content, for example, it makes sense for Google News to take a responsive approach as it is easy for content-heavy sites to repurpose the way the content is presented on mobile devices.

However Ethan Marcotte, who coined the term responsive Web design, states in his book Responsive Web Design, “most importantly, responsive Web design isn’t intended to serve as a replacement for mobile websites”.

Campbell has identified a number of key considerations organizations must examine before they decide to incorporate responsive design.


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