The Best of Digital 2014
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Welcome to Logic + Magic The Best of Digital 2014, your guide to the top 10 trends, toys, SEO secrets, and oh so much more.

The Best of Digital 2014

Summer 2014

Responsive Design: Is It Worth The HYPE?

by: Danielle Quales

Designing websites responsively is all the rage these days. In many cases, doing so is a smart business and marketing decision. However, there are cases in which using responsive design doesn’t make as much sense.

Consult the following Top 10 list (and its thoughtful counter-piece) to see where your brand lands.

YOU'RE YOUNG

Solving and designing for a responsive design website can lead to a higher upfront cost. And sometimes, that cost just isn’t feasible—especially when you’re just starting out. In the case of limited cash flow, explore properties or applications that will yield a higher return.

NO USE CASE FOR MOBILE

There are some things users don’t access on a mobile device. For instance, tasks like applying for a job or uploading documents are most conducive to being performed on a desktop.

NO USE CASE FOR DESKTOP

Mobile and tablet use has skyrocketed. There are some website types that users are accessing on-the-go, such as maps or crowd-sourcing services. Leverage your research and optimize your marketing dollars in only the site format that your audience accesses.

A MOBILE APP IS THE BETTER CHOICE

When users access your site on a phone or tablet, they often only need to see a focused offering. For instance, a user might access a travel website prior to visiting a new city to browse everything that’s available there. But once the traveler is actually in the city, he’s only seeking restaurant reviews and locations—straightforward information best delivered on a mobile app. So, consider investing in a design that allows users to access only that limited set of functionality.

FREQUENT UPDATES AREN'T NEEDED

Responsive design enthusiasts will remind you time and again about the main benefits of responsive design: when updates are needed, the developer has to update a single code base. However, if you’re updating your website infrequently, then the higher cost of responsive design isn’t justified.

DEEP RESEARCH OR READING REQUIRED

If you have a very content heavy site with long articles with lots of detail, users aren’t reading them on their mobile device. It’s much easier to read and digest large amounts of content on a desktop, when the user is sedentary and focused on the task at hand. In these cases, invest in a smart, reader friendly desktop website, loaded with rich content.

IMAGE OR ANIMATION-HEAVY SITE

Lots of images and animations perform poorly in a mobile version of a responsive design site. If your property is graphic-heavy and it’s important to the messaging of your site, drive to your desktop and invest in making it the best user experience possible.

LOCATION-BASED FEATURES/FUNCTIONS

If your site contains location-based features and functions, it loses context and usefulness in a desktop version. Instead, it probably makes more sense to invest in a mobile-only site or a dedicated mobile app.

SLOW-TO-LOAD MOBILE PAGES

When you view a responsively designed site on a mobile or tablet device, all the images must be individually downloaded, and then resized. When loading a page with a large number of images, such as in a slideshow, this can take some time and hamper user experience. If this sounds like your site, reconsider responsive design.

YOUR AUDIENCE ISN'T ON ALL DEVICES

If the target audience for your site and its content are a demographic that doesn’t use Smartphones or tablets, then there’s no need for you to design responsively. Funnel your funds into optimizing the channel your users access, and make it shine.