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Responsive design is a hot topic in the advertising and tech industry, evident by my experience today at SXSW in a crammed salon where I met my neighbors through the tight rub of shoulders. But do clients really know what it means and is it really what they want? Not necessarily by what I learned from Dane Downer, Cofounder and Director of Digital Strategy at Brand Labs, and James Zetlen, Software Architect at Volusion, in “Is Your Responsive Design Responsive Enough?”

Responsive design is merely a “tool in the toolbox” as described by Zetlen, that the craftsman, or developer, can use as a technique in order to accomplish specific goals. Hence, the most important and fundamental framework of an entire website project should be based on the client’s answer to the question: What do we want to accomplish with a website in a mobile device, a desktop, etc…? What are the goals? Then we can decide if a responsive design is the appropriate technique that will lead to the accomplishment of those goals.

Most times when a client says they want their website to be responsive, they may mean:

  • I want my website to look good on mobile
  • I want my website to be easy to navigate on mobile
  • I want my website to be adapted to the latest technology
  • I want my website to be hip and cool
  • I don’t want to have to redo my website again next year

That’s when we have to guide clients to:

  1. Narrow down their website’s goals
  2. Make an educated decision
  3. Execute the best and most appropriate strategy

There’s no one rule fits all and the most dangerous thing we can do as advertisers is get stuck on a process or “package” and not provide what’s best for the client and their customers’ experience.

Continue to follow along on our adventures at SXSW beyond responsive design by checking up on our blog page.