Last Saturday we spoke at the excellent Standards > Next ‘Mobile and Devices’ conference in Manchester. Our brief was to deliver a frontline report from the coalface of the web industry about the ways in which responsive design is applied in a commercial agency environment.
Through our work with clients we’ve come to realise there is an increasingly wide gulf between esoteric industry rhetoric about responsive design and mainstream understanding.
We used the talk to suggest (perhaps slightly controversially) that there is an inconvenient truth that designing responsively can take more time and cost more money. Our argument was that a pragmatic approach to responsive design can be used in even the most cost sensitive projects, but we need to bring our customers with us.
We drew the parallel with the situation five years ago where a supermarket charging for plastic bags would have been seen as commercial suicide. In this environment Marks & Spencer introduced Plan A, a strategic approach to responsible business that carefully outlined the benefits and rationale of this new direction. Their plan, led by former CEO Sir Stuart Rose, was to remain ‘half a step ahead of customers’, no further.
We concluded by outlining the challenges the industry faces as we vie for projects in a competitive environment where tough economic times have squeezed budgets. We too must explain to customers the benefits of a responsive approach and be able to back this up with proper, credible evidence.
Our slides are available on Speaker Deck.