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Part I: The Rage on ‘Responsive Design’ Answers the Wrong Question

With people accessing the internet from various devices (mobile, tablet, laptop, desktop), 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; building and maintaining one site, with one code base, for all the various devices and instances. Even the world’s premier programming organization, none other than Google, 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?

Instead, 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. Consumer behavior is changing rapidly and has been for quite some time. The shift is clear and can be seen through device sales alone, people are spending more time on mobile and tablets and less time on their personal computers (desktops and laptops). As such, their behavior is changing because if the mobility of the device.

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