There is a lot of talk these days about responsive web design, especially in ecommerce. In case you’re unfamiliar, this is basically just a design approach that provides an optimal viewing experience no matter what kind of device you’re using. With responsive design, you’re able to easily navigate a site with minimal scrolling or resizing whether you’re on a desktop, mobile phone, tablet, etc.
Here is a quick example of why responsive design is so important for ecommerce stores. A coworker alerted me to the Modify Watches website, which she had been browsing on her Android phone when she noticed some big problems. Modify Watches doesn’t have responsive design, and it really shows. For reference, here is the desktop version of the site, under the Shop tab on the top:
Not bad at all! I like the graphics integrated into the filtering menu on the left, and the Visualizer feature on the right. However, take a look at what happened when viewing this same page on an Android phone:
Whoa, that overlap is not good! The filters are hidden under the product images, rendering them useless. The Visualizer just gets all stretched out and stuck along the right. Basically the functionality is completely lost. Here’s another look. Notice how the menu from the top, featuring the Shop and About tabs, gets stuck in the middle of the screen as you scroll down. Yikes…
To see another example, I also tried to open the Modify Watches ecommerce site on an iPhone. Again, problems with overlapping elements really hinders the functionality of the site:
This is a prime example of what can happen to an ecommerce store without responsive design. Obviously with the functionality severely impaired, I doubt many users are bothering with the hassle and making purchases. If people aren’t buying, a mobile site starts to become a big waste of time. Mobile and tablet shopping continues to grow, and business shouldn’t be losing sales to this important audience because their websites don’t work. Invest in responsive design and capitalize on this market.