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Making the Case for Responsive Web Design

Making the Case for Responsive Web Design

Instructor Jeremy Osborn recently posted this to the Forum for our Responsive Web Design course.

If you're reading this you probably don't need a lot of convincing that responsive web design is the way to go. However you may be part of an organization that does need convincing. In that case, the evidence continues to mount that more people are accessing the web on mobile than ever before, AND the rate of increase from year to year is downright staggering.

As an illustration, here are two data points for your consideration:

  1. Each year's Thanksgiving and Black Friday frenzy provides interesting data. For example, every year businesses have to decide how much money they will spend on targeting potential customers who are searching for things on the internet. Specifically they have to decide where they will allocate those dollars: Will they target computer users (laptops, desktops) or will they target phone or tablet users?

    In 2012 on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, businesses focused 79.5% of their budgets on computer users, 11.8% on phone users and 8.7% on tablet users.

    This year, only 60.3% went to computer users, while 21.2% went to phone and 18.5% to tablet users.

    These are amazing jumps in statistical terms, but I think we're simply seeing a "follow the money" phenomenon. Businesses are targeting more mobile users because more of them are using their devices to search for and buy stuff. For our purposes this is noteworthy because if websites do not create a useful experience for customers (using *cough* RWD) they will go elsewhere and spend their money.

    My sources for this data came from this post on Kenshoo's blog. The post contains a lot of other interesting data so I encourage you to check it out!

  2. Another item of relevant data comes from the BBC News. The BBC has been doing a lot of workover the last year or two to create an industrial strength responsive site. If you go to a phone or tablet you can see it in action. (Currently if you visit the site in the desktop browser it will not be responsive, my understanding is this will happen in good time.)

    So here's what's amazing: On December 1, 62% of all traffic to BBC news came from either Phone or Tablet users. This represents about 10.7 million unique visitors in one day. The site looks beautiful; it is well optimized, dynamic and serves images and rich media such as video. If the BBC, an institution not typically associated with the cutting edge, can do this can't your company do it as well?!

Admittedly, these are but two data points. Still, I think they speak volumes about critical trends in web usage and help make an increasingly compelling argument for going responsive.

The author, Jeremy Osborn, is Academic Director for Aquent Gymnasium. He is also the instructor for our course on Responsive Web Design.

Image Source: Annie Mole.

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