Research metrics suggest that close to 52% of international web traffic is handled through smartphone devices. This means potentially half of the traffic, if not more, come from smartphone devices. In mid-2015, even search engine Google started including responsive web design as a search-engine ranking factor. Mobile has emerged as an important part of everyday web usage, so much so that not having a mobile-first website is a real problem for businesses and brands alike.
- What is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive sites have entire pages which are fluid. These adjust dynamically to fit the device size, making complete use of space provided and dynamically loading or unloading elements based on the space size allotted. The page adjusts to any given space, eliminating any horizontal scrolls or unloading elements that are not useful on small smart devices, such as side-bars.
Layering a responsive design atop an existing website is impossible. To make the true transition to a responsive website design requires a website overhaul from the ground-up. This is really costly. However, you can also opt for budget-friendly options, where the layout of the website changes slightly and custom HTML and CSS makes it appear like an initial design. The code can be added to make the existing site responsive. The more customised the code is, however, the harder it is to make it responsive and therefore, the costs tend to pile up.
- Making the Transition to A Responsive Site
Cost of switching to responsive web design can vary a lot. Small businesses with simple websites converting to responsive design may even cost just a few thousand dollars. A larger, older, complex or customised design could cost up to tens of thousands of dollars. But the costliest of the lot are enterprise-level sites, that pay more and incur higher costs.
Adding ecommerce capability makes the transition still costlier. Ecommerce sites are complicated and need to be built to have a higher standard, along with additional security. Additional charges can be expected for ecommerce platforms, adding up an additional $1000 to 20,000. There are many benefits to responsive web design that do justify this cost.
A responsive site is a better choice than a mobile URL. One does not have to worry about maintaining dual pages or two different services and avoid canonicalisation of data. Responsive design is better to work with every type of size device and can easily scale with a growing business. With a mobile page, one is either on or off. With a responsive site, there are multiple transitional stages for large tablets, smaller tablets, phones and desktops.
Responsive design can cost as little as $5000 for smaller sites. For larger, more complex sites, it could be anywhere around $25,000.
Here’s the break-up of costs of switching to responsive website design:
#1 Discovery and Team or Client Education
Building in time to get the process of responsive web design up to speed requires time, effort and money. The web developers need to ensure everyone understands what responsive design is and why it’s important. It is crucial to gain a deeper understanding of website design technologies and foresee the trends emerging.
#2 Process for Responsive Site Development
This is the crux of processes that entail costs, and require significant budgetary considerations. Most individuals are used to waterfall-type processes and step-by-step project planning, but responsive design shows that in a multi-screen world, linear processes cannot hack it. Involvement and collaboration are absolutely essential for effective responsive projects.
Making room for collaboration, iteration and innovation is the key here. Costs can increase with successive iterations. But iterations are important, considering the technologically advanced team has to guide in-house staff through the process. How does navigation work and how does this re-flow on larger screens? The Pathwwway team works through the entire process and prototypes or wireframes keeping the needs and requirements in mind.
#3 More Testing/QA
As against opting for a handful of desktop browsers, more testing and QA time need to go into responsive budgets. What devices are supported? This is one of the most crucial questions to consider while optimising for design. There’s a difference between support and optimisation in cost terms, as well. Contracts require specific browser and platform versions and it is not workable for the team to optimise for billions of smart devices. When budgetary considerations are important, it is crucial for the team to propose inclusive, forward-thinking solutions instead of putting blinders and paying attention to limited features in the name of cost-efficiency.
#5 Purchasing Devices
It is essential to check the website on real smart devices. This means investing in some test smart devices. Device investments may change across one website design and development project to another, but it is important to get a representative set of devices on a budget and work using these. Project planning for switching to responsive design involves addressing all channels upfront as one stream influences the remainder of the design. A dedicated mobile-friendly site that utilises responsive interface needs to consider multiple channels instead of restricting oneself to a handful of devices in a linear, step-by-step way.
Thus, the costs involved in switching to responsive designs and sites is entirely based on how large and complex your website is. Cost is also a function of how affordable the packages of your website design and development team are. Choose a premier agency that does not believe in sacrificing quality or affordability for crafting the most responsive sites. With the right website design and development agency partnering your business, the website you come up with will meet your budget and your requirements on time, every time.
Responsive designs were the brainchild of web designer Ethan Marcotte, but though these were considered an innovation in their times, they are now standard practice for websites across the world. With fluid design and adjustable layouts, the responsive sites can respond to different devices, browsers and screen sizes effectively. For the cost incurred, businesses can be assured generous profits and revenue generation opportunities that make every penny invested in responsive web design worth it.