Responsive Website Design Part 2: How Much Does RWD Cost and Why?

Anup Batra


With internet usage on mobile devices now surpassing internet usage on PCs, businesses need to get serious about designing effective mobile-friendly devices. In Part 1 of this series, we looked at why businesses should consider responsive design. Now, let’s explore some of the costs and processes involved in creating a website that delivers seriously relevant content direct to the user.

“How much does a responsive website cost?”

A Responsive Website Design (RWD) website costs more than a regular desktop-centric website to build and run, but creating an effective business website is an investment that will deliver more than its dollar value. When weighing up the costs, you need to keep in mind that a responsive website works much harder for you than your standard desktop-centric website.
“So, why does a responsive website cost more?”

The reason RWD costs more is that this method requires more planning, design, coding and testing upfront to ensure an intuitive user experience for everyone who visits your website, no matter what the device. But each of these elements of web design contributes significantly to the website’s effectiveness for gaining conversions. Why should these elements require more attention on a responsive site? Let’s examine each of them in detail.

  • Planning

Building a website with RWD means planning ahead to cater for a range of devices, screen resolutions and contexts. Responsive design doesn’t just resize webpages on the fly; it actually restructures the page layout, content and navigation tools to prioritise features depending on the end device and the context in which it’s used. This means planning ahead to consider what various users will most want from your website. For example, you might make contact and location details more prominent on mobile devices to cater for users on the go.

  • Design

It’s not always necessary to design every possible screen layout for every possible device or resolution, but responsive design does require more consideration regarding how each screen is going to adapt and respond at different sizes and in different contexts. The aim is to put in the hard work here to eliminate ugly break points and offer a smooth and intuitive user experience at all times.

  • Coding

This is one phase where considerably more work is involved compared to designing a desktop-centric website or fixed-width design which only caters to a handful of device classes. Building a responsive site means developing and coding multiple versions of many page components. When designing a responsive design website you are likely to come up against areas of the website that will not render properly on different browsers or devices, which will mean new lines of code and statements will need to be written to fix those aspects.

  • Testing

It is naturally going to take longer to test your responsive website across many devices, as opposed to just ensuring it looks good on the desktop. However, quality assurance and testing for a RWD site is less demanding than undertaking the same task for separate desktop, tablet and mobile sites or for mobile apps.

The advantage of responsive design websites is that all customers are delivered relevant content in a user-friendly interface: no device user is left feeling like a second class citizen. Ultimately, respect for all of your customers, no matter which device they use, will lead to an increase in conversions.

To test how your website performs on a mobile device, Google provides a free Mobile-Testing tool. If your website is not performing well across a range of devices, contact us here to find out how we can help your site increase conversions through effective website design. Stay tuned for the next instalment in the RWD series to find out how responsive design affects content.

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