Problems and Apps

By now you’re probably convinced creating one site that’s works perfectly on multiple devices is far better than creating two or three different sites, some of which don’t offer full functionality. Instead of leaving 30–50% of your traffic in the cold, you’ll now be capturing 100% of your consumers. Conversion can only happen if consumers have a site to view.

There are pitfalls, however. Some responsive sites are poorly designed, so they only really look right on a phone or a desktop. You’ll see some sites on your laptop with vast amounts of empty space or mobile sites that require too much scrolling.

And what if you have apps or are considering building an app? There’s a lot of strong opinions about this. If you’re a big brand with huge budgets, you do everything. But if you’re leaner, you may want to skip the app and instead try to get consumers to bookmark your site on their phone. It’s almost the same as an app but no store or download needed.

CNN is now seeing more traffic to its mobile site than with its mobile apps. Personally, I think mobile optimization is the future as consumers tire of having scores of non-core apps on their phones. Some apps will never go away—Twitter, Facebook and Google Maps likely are relatively permanent. But, as a consumer, if you make only an occasional beauty purchase, you don’t need an app for that brand or store. You want to search for an item and click on the first website that correctly displays on your phone while you’re on the bus, your tablet while you’re on the sofa or your desktop while you’re at work.

Technology and social media blog Mashable said 2013 is the year of responsive design. That was for the cutting-edge few. By the end of 2014, you’ll see all new sites being designed for responsiveness. It requires a lot of work, but the payoff is worth it.