Responsive web design (RWD) has the rare combination of being extremely valuable and affordable. Its value lies in its ability to give both web designers and consumers what they want: designers can create one site optimized for all devices, and consumers are always assured a great user-experience.
Yet despite these benefits, responsive design is generally less expensive than traditional web design. How is that so? Because, RWD is truly an innovation. It solves the time-consuming problem of coding for different systems and streamlines the whole site development and management process. And this efficiency results in lower costs for everyone.
How it Lowers Costs
If you’re unfamiliar with responsive web design, you may want to check out our earlier post: What is Responsive Web Design and Why Should I Care?. However, to summarize it in a sentence, it’s a way of creating a website so it automatically adjusts its size and layout based on the viewing device. To see it in action, you need look no further than this website. Go ahead, give it a try — open this page on a desktop browser then try resizing your window. Notice how the layout “magically” changes according to how big or small the window? For other perspectives, try loading this post on a tablet or smartphone.
Still, as impressive as that may be, this discussion is about saving money, so exactly how does RWD do that? Here are some of the biggest ways:
1. Creates One Site for Every User
One of the greatest benefits of responsive design is that it’s device neutral. Unlike, dedicated sites designed specifically for desktops, smartphones, tablets, and even for separate operating systems like Android and iOS, responsively built sites don’t care where they are viewed — they work equally well in all environments.
Besides easily accommodating everyone (those with the latest gadgets and those still on old home PCs), a responsive design gives you the huge advantage of not having to pay for the development of all those different sites.
Yes, you could opt for only one static site, but is that really a viable option in today’s mobile world? Like it or not, mobile gadgets are rapidly becoming the way to access the internet, and businesses who want to stay connected with their on-the-go customers need to have a mobile presence. At this point, you can’t be sure how consumers will access your site but with RWD you have all your bases covered.
2. Requires Less Maintenance
Choosing one responsive site over multiple dedicated sites saves you money initially and over the long-term. Just consider the level of maintenance needed to update, manage, and make changes to several sites — everything needs to be repeated two, three, or more times. No matter how simple the operation, this redundancy takes added time and ultimately costs more money.
Additionally, with RWD, you don’t have to worry about coordinating with two separate developers (one for mobile and one for static) as is often the case with many web design companies. This alone can save a ton of time that would be sent relaying information and planning.
3. Streamlines Other Areas
Many companies are relying on RWD to provide more options for their customers. For instance, before responsive technology, some businesses may have hesitated to initiate certain programs, such as in-depth online account management, out of fear of how it would render on their client’s varied devices. With large numbers of customers using different sized screens and servers, creating and maintaining such a platform could be an IT nightmare (not to mention expensive).
RWD eliminates those problems, and businesses are using the opportunity to go beyond the basic information they used to grant their customers (like order history) by creating comprehensive customer portals that give people control over their accounts (rendered beautifully on static and mobile screens).
Letting clients approve invoices, see what’s in stock, submit disputes, and perform other tasks related to their accounts can save a great deal of on-the-phone time and reduce the number of customer service representatives you need.
4. Keeps People on Your Page
Although keeping folks on your page doesn’t exactly save you money, it can put more money in your pocket by increasing revenue. Having a functional, user-friendly site is one of the best ways to encourage consumers to stick around, which means more time for them to read your content, follow your call to action, and funnel through your pages towards conversion.
What about Apps?
Obviously, we’re not the only ones singing the praises of responsive web design. More and more companies, including About, Boston Globe, Microsoft, Lycos, Starbucks, and the World Wildlife Fund are relying on the technology. Even Google recommends RWD configuration, which makes it a great choice for SEO.
However, some businesses prefer to use mobile specific apps because of the added functionalities they provide. Of course apps are great, but even if you decide you want one, that doesn’t negate the need for an adaptable website capable of working on every device (not everyone will have access to your app). Essentially, responsive design gives you the most bang for your buck. You can choose to explore app creation or not (there’s nothing wrong with giving people options); nevertheless, if you’re looking for the most affordable way to always provide a quality user experience (no matter where people are or what device they’re using) — RWD is your answer. Since every website and business is different, it’s impossible to say exactly how much RWD will cost you, but for some insight checkout our earlier post on the cost of responsive web design.
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