Is responsive web design a viable long-term strategy for mobility?

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Research company Forrester teamed up with Moovweb to share some light on how to efficiently deliver experiences across multiple devices in the situation when responsive web design projects are proving to be more complex than expected while still lacking the ability to leverage key mobile functionality.

The report is based on a survey of 146 US based companies across a range of industries evaluating the results of various leading mobile development and deployment strategies. The survey found that 63 % of companies using responsive web design today see it as non suitable for long-term use, but more as as a tactical short-term solution. With many companies looking for ways to address the significant growth in mobile traffic to their web sites, the report suggests that responsive delivery and HTML5 may be better long-term solutions.

Furthermore, Moovweb’s chief marketing officer Mitch Bishop reports that “most of the respondents that finished the project said that they spent at least 70% of their time and effort on these projects writing APIs, writing custom integrations to the back-end. The projects largely came in but what was revealed by the survey was that most companies had to reduce scope of the project in order to make that happen”.

Main report findings

43% of respondents were using responsive web design and 45 % HTML5, making the two approaches the most frequently-used techniques. As responsive web design requires companies to have one set of code that can be pushed out to any device while responsive delivery uses a smart server as a go-between to pick and choose the appropriate elements to deliver to each device, the latter came out as a possible better long-term solution.

The report also uncovered some responsive web design related issues. For example, it requires the code for a company’s existing web assets to be completely rewritten, making the project more complex than some expected. Key report findings include that more than 70 % of the cost, time and effort in responsive web design projects is spent on the back-end recoding APIs, middleware, integration and infrastructure. Not only that, but 37 % of respondents had to cut the scope of their responsive web design projects to be able to deliver them on budget. The report also showed that responsive web design does not meet many companies’ needs on the front-end.

Responsive delivery as a longer-term solution

The main issues for HTML5 revealed by the survey include that the newness, complexity and rate of change in HTML5 make it difficult for managers to accurately estimate project tasks. The report recommends responsive delivery as a way to unify experiences across touch points. It also underscores the ongoing importance of HTML5 for building mobile experiences.

A responsive approach makes sense for companies that need support for many devices, have content heavy- experiences, need simple customer interactions and have frequently changing information.

By leveraging existing web assets for both mobile sites and apps and eliminating the need for web site rewrites, responsive delivery can help improve performance and allow organizations to take advantage of mobile-specific features, hence providing more strategic, longer-term benefits.

Posted by : Abhishek Agarwal Date : May 22, 2014

Abhishek Agarwal is Co-founder and CEO of Rightway Solution and Leads Business Development and Marketing Initiatives.

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