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Responsive in 2016

After several years of mis-labeling, Ethan Marcotte in 2011 finally helped us all land on the term “Responsive Design” as an imperative for website design. That's a lifetime ago in internet time, and yet the majority of enterprise sites still don’t have responsive sites. Why is it an imperative, and why have so many enterprises held off on making this change?

There are three primary drivers of change, eloquently stated by Karen McGrane in her excellent book “Going Responsive”:

  1. Mobile device growth and diversity
  2. Customer expectations of consistent experiences across devices
  3. Cost savings and value creation of responsively designed experiences

Unit sales of smartphones continue to explode, and in just four years 80% of the world’s adult population will have one, up from about 30% today. Global mobile traffic grew, on average, 75% per year for the past three years alone. 87% of Millennials agree with the statement “my smartphone never leaves my side, night or day.”1 In 2015 OpenSignal found 24,000 different android devices from 1,300 different brands in the market.2 This tidal wave of adoption combined with the explosion in differently sized screens mean that this is too big of a trend to ignore.

Responsive sites delivered 30% higher brand awareness and converted shoppers to buyers 8% more with a 5% lift in order value.

90% of people start a task on one screen and finish it on another3, and changing that experience disrupts commerce and leads to poor customer experiences (CX). According to a Forrester Research study, stock prices for companies with a higher CX index score performed nearly 30% better than average CX scoring companies. More disturbingly, companies with a poor CX score saw their stocks actually devalue by nearly 34%.4

And newer technologies, design practices, and comparative costs of the status quo point to a much higher value to move forward with responsive design. Managing separate codebases, organizing and managing different teams, and stovepiping design and development for each platform… you may as well burn your money. Aberdeen found in a 2014 study, that responsive sites delivered 30% higher brand awareness and converted shoppers to buyers 8% more with a 5% lift in order value.

Cantina surveyed 2,800 digital properties for mid to large sized enterprises and found that only 38% had responsively designed sites. In a 2015 survey, Akamai found the situation even worse, with only 18% of sites designed responsively.

Why the resistance? 2013 was called the Year of Responsive, and yet here we are in 2016 and the market hasn’t caught up to customer expectations. Why not?

Priorities, cost, and risk - the usual suspects. Institutional momentum, inside politics, lack of technical and design skills. Feelings of invincibility. Or despair.

Whatever your reasons, it’s time to revisit the question - customers are mobile, their expectations of utility for mobile applications and experiences are formed by best-in-class experiences across industries. All it takes is for your competitors to make it easier, faster, better looking, and more fun and then BOOM! you’ve lost customers.

Or you can take the initiative and take theirs.

At Cantina, we have proven experience delivering responsive designs with enterprise clients. We started in 2011, working with Meredith Publishing to guide them through the complexities of relaunching Parents.com with responsive rich advertising and media. When completed, Parents.com reported a 118% growth in overall traffic and a 38% growth in mobile traffic. In the time since that project, we have delivered complex responsive solutions for other companies, such as Liberty Medical, Putnam Investments, and The Boston Globe.

See Our Work - Parents

We believe in creating responsive solutions starting with a research focused design process. Our process helps facilitate the organizational buy-in that is needed to produce successful results more efficiently by training the organization how to think about design from a responsive perspective. The final deliverable of our responsive design engagements is a digital design system that can be used within an organization on future projects and be extended to meet future requirements.

Responsive designs are going to be an important undertaking for many companies in 2016, and we're here to help those companies think through their requirements and deliver solutions.

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