Published On: November 8, 2013
Author: Eric Oliver

Responsive Design and Your Client

Responsive Design and Your Client

Responsive Design and It’s Effects.

Responsive design has been around for a few years now and more people are realizing the potential of having a responsive site.  However, not everyone is willing to invest in a responsive design just yet. Have you had trouble getting a client to understand the benefit or to justify the price of going responsive?  Most people would love to go responsive, but you know what they say…“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!”  To them, their site works and responsive design would be great but do they really need it.  The answer is yes!

Responsive design is important and useful on today’s internet.  Not only for UX but because your client’s website is preparing for the future.  In time, more people will use their phone and tablet to do their browsing, their shopping, and their purchasing.  The web as we know it has been moving in this direction for a while and with the new iPhone, Android devices, and Windows successful leap into tablets, I do not expect the trend to go away…ever.

As Important as Responsive Design Is, Do They Need It?

I may be contradicting myself a bit from the first section, but not every website needs to be responsive.  When dealing with a client and responsive design, take a look at their demographic.  Do their users typically use their phone, if so, how?  If it were you, would you benefit from having a responsive design with a low mobile visitor base?  Could you justify the cost of a responsive design?

If you fail to create a need for a responsive design with the previous questions…maybe responsive is not the way to go.  However, don’t get discouraged…responsive design is not just about mobile support.  It is about a re-brand, a redesign, and a new lease on life for their website.

Ok, So, Mobile Is Out…How Else Can Responsive Design Help?

Well, you get to a point where responsive design is out…what do you do now?  Typically, you can justify the cost of a redesign that would include responsive design if the website is outdated.  How is their site built? Does it use a CMS or flat HTML? Is it code compliant?  Do it use tables?  Is it even HTML5?

These questions can open the door to a redesign and with a redesign, responsive design.  Ok, so, we have stated that their mobile user base is not good…now.  Designing a website to use responsive design and to be code compliant HTML5 prepares it for the future.  They may not have a huge surge of mobile users now, but a redesign with a responsive layout can put them ahead of the curb in their respective fields and can make the life of the mobile users they do have a bit easier.  If anything, take this away from this section: Selling a responsive design is not only about selling mobile design to your client…it is about bringing attention to the benefits of a responsive design and how that could affect the future of their website.

What Other Benefits?

Responsive design is not only for mobile and tablet.  Think about responsive design for large screens or TVs.  With the price of high resolution, large format monitors on the decline, more people are scooping them up.  Which means more people are now browsing with 18, 20, 22, 24 inch monitors on a regular basis.  Would a fixed with site look good to them?  Probably not.  With the Xbox One and PS4 on the horizon, you can expect more people to become more interactive with their TVs.  TVs that can be 60 and 80 inches wide…would a fixed width website look god if viewed on the TV?  Definitely not.

It may sound funny, but with the prices of large scale monitors and TVs coming down…everyone, from young to old now has the ability to browse the internet it all it’s glory.  Responsive design can help with that…see future proof.

Mobile Design = Mobile Users, Go Figure.

If your client is having a hard time supporting a responsive design due to a mobile user base hang up, explain that poor mobile UX can lead to poor mobile user interaction.  Ok, so your client has a small or dwindling mobile user base…well, this may be because their mobile user is not welcome.  Have you ever went to a website and you had to pinch, zoom, and scroll to find the content you are looking for?  Probably not.  Know why? Like most people, when you are on your phone or tablet and you are browsing the internet…you instantly back out of a site that is not designed to make your life easier.

A low mobile user base could be directly attributed to a non-responsive website.  Bad UX leads to bad ROI in mobile turnaround.  If you want to expand your mobile or tablet user base, you have to invite them in with open arms.  If not, they will find a website that does.

In Conclusion…

It is important to let your client have the final say, but if you present your case well enough, 9 times out of 10 you are going to get a sale.  Explain to them the benefits of having a responsive design, that is it not only responsive for mobile users but it is future proofing their website.  Still cannot get a sale?  Well, better move on.  One day they will need it and you can be there for them when they do.


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About the Author

Eric Oliver

Director of Website Development

With over a decade of experience designing and developing websites, Eric has worked in every position of the agency ladder. He is fluent in multiple backend and front end programming languages and has written multiple international best selling plugins for WordPress. He has been part of or is still part of many startups. He is the Director of Website Development for Future Design Group and one of it's founding partners.