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The Mobile Consumer and the Right Response to Responsive Design

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By Seth Kaplan

mobile_device_internetWith people accessing the Internet from various devices, all of which vary in size, Responsive Web Design has become all the rage. As defined by Stanford University, Responsive Web Design refers to:

“A website that responds to the device that accesses it and delivers the appropriate output. Rather than designing multiple sites for different-sized devices, this approach designs one site, but specifies how it should appear on varied devices.”

In essence, Responsive Web Design is a programmer’s dream come true. Even Google, the world’s premier programming organization, has deemed Responsive Web Design their “recommended configuration” for building smartphone-optimized websites. However, the problem with Responsive Web Design is that it aims to answer the wrong question: How do you display content correctly across different devices and screen sizes?

The question we should be asking is, how should we alter the user experience to accommodate changes in consumer behavior across different devices?

After all, what we do as marketers should be driven by consumers, not by what works best for programmers. And consumer behavior is changing rapidly. The shift is clear and can be seen through device sales alone, as people spend more time on mobile and tablets and less time on their personal computers. As such, their behavior is changing because of the mobility of the device. “We must ensure the experience on each device is built specifically to accommodate the user; our consumer,” says John Lim, co-Founder and CEO of Life in Mobile, “as consumer behavior is inherently different when using a mobile phone compared to a desktop computer.”

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