It’s no secret that the mobile tech revolution is in full swing…the fact that you might be reading this on a mobile phone illustrates the point quite adequately. The growth in both smartphone and tablet PC markets over the last couple of years has been so fierce that PC manufacturers the world over have noted steep declines in both desktop and laptop computers – so much so that some predicted the imminent end of the industry.
Now, chances are it will never come to that – there will always be a place for powerful PCs and notebooks. However, it pretty much set in stone the point that from a standard, everyday consumer perspective, mobile really represents the future…and the imminent future at that.
From a business perspective this represents a rather colossal opportunity for capitalization. Right now, tens of millions of people all over the world are browsing for goods, services and generally anything they can spend their money on in places they’d never be able to take their PCs. From buses to bars to parks to police stations, anywhere there’s a smartphone there’s the potential to reach out and make a sale.
And given the fact that smartphone penetration in Western nations has already rocketed past 50%, that’s half of every consumer in every key market reachable nigh-on 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
We used to think TV was a powerful marketing platform…how wrong we were!
Responsive Web Design
Of course, the initial reaction from web designers and online business owners came in one or two forms – ignore the mobile movement altogether, or build a second website that’s more mobile friendly. No sense getting into the hideous idea that is the former of the two, but it came to pass pretty soon that even the latter didn’t hold much water.
Why? Well, you can see the answer right in front of you by checking out any smartphone or tablet PC store – there are thousands of mobile devices with infinitely different screens, processors, general capabilities and operating systems. As such, it’s completely impossible to build a mobile website that’s compatible with 100% of devices – you’d technically have to build a few hundred brand specific sites.
And as this is impossible, responsive web design is really the only option.
The difference with responsive web design comes by the way in which just a single site has to be made, which is designed in such a way that it will automatically modify itself in accordance with the way in which it is accessed. Be it a 24-inch PC screen or a 4-inch smartphone, the idea is to not only allow access, but to make sure that every person paying a visit gets the same user experience.
Think about it – when was the last time you came across a website you couldn’t access properly on your smartphone and yet you still bothered to stick around for more than 10 seconds? It doesn’t happen, and what’s worse still is the tendency of folk never to bother coming back. So it really doesn’t matter if you make the necessary corrections tomorrow, as you’ll have already said goodbye to a ton of visitors today.
To ignore the need for responsive web design is to turn your back on millions of site visitors…it’s as simple as that.