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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Are You Ready for a Responsive Website?

Thursday, November 22, 2012
Is this responsive?  
Web, these days, has become a high-competitive commodity than ever before especially when it has gone beyond desktop to reach out to the pocket of users. Knowing the upward trends of web accessibility on mobile devices, the million-dollar question is –are you ready for a responsive web?

“No, not now” is a typical answer from many clients because they are born with their inbuilt belief that their traditional web still churns approx. 95% sales contrary to a meager % conversion from iPad, iPhone or other mobile devices. Why investing in a RWD adding unnecessary extra cost? Many of us also believe that there exists a discrepancy in what people follow versus what they say. Is RWD a fad or reality? 

Logically, RWD is a reality. The clients, who think that the major % sales come from desktop users, are just looking at the historic and current sales data. Hence, they don’t want any change in their ‘virtual store’ (vstore) and thus they don’t want to spend more. This is not only a myth they are living with but a great business risk they carry in a fast-changing IT world.  

Practically, RWD is not just about mobile devices but also about desktop too. So, if they invest in a RWD, their sale will continue to be there from the desktop customers w/o any impact on the current sales data, and proportionately a higher % increase in sale from other devises may be expected. If they don’t invest in RWD, on the contrary, their sales from desktop customers will ensure a no consistent growth apart from “sales leakage” from other devises.   

Today, customers are segmented based on devise. A typical analytics data shows that more than 90% customers buy a product from desktop while % of sale from mobile is low. Is this kind of data reliable? Yes, it’s reliable but 100% reliability is a big question.

The inability of analytics to classify a visit/purchase based on a devise may be ascribed to showcasing such inaccurate data. While % of sale from mobile may not be statistically high as per analytics yet the same analytics shows a relatively higher % of queries on mobile and a consistent increase in traffic from these devices. Sale is low on mobile because the website is neither RWD nor facilitates convenient transactions. That’s why average bounce rate on checkout page is 80~85%. It’s not that devise fails it’s the website that fails on devise.

The inability of GA to track accurate visitors’ behavior from devices could be a possible reason behind Universal Analytics (UA) project Google is undertaking. It’s no wonder that UA would be a default implementation at some point of time replacing traditional GA.

If it’s logical to build a single site compatible with all devices with rich users’ experience then why TWO different sets of GA codes (one for mobile and other for desktop)? UA addresses this logic –one code for one web! That’s why the idea of UA is a conceived, and Google is planning to roll out though in a beta now.

Until now, the standard practice across the industry is to build a portal by thinking desktop users first. Things have changed now. To my understanding, the best responsive designs should start by thinking mobile users first.

As the usage of mobile is gaining momentum, we must be prepared to adapt to the changes, and educate clients, train team, and convince internal and external stakeholders to adapt to the changes, and not let bad practices be followed. A company gains a good faith of clients if the management educates their clients the best practices and ensures a good return on their investment (ROI). 

Clients always look for cost effective solutions, but it’s up to the management to educate clients about the best ROI, and train the internal team to scale up their efficiency to deliver as per the demand of the time within a client’s budget for a bigger picture than continuing looking at the balance sheet for quarterly profit or loss. While responsive is a new catch word, the organization has to be responsive too.

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