Responsive web design, Is it?

Responsiveness to various browsers, screens and devices should not be the only intention of responsive web design. Responsive design implies response to user behavior that enhances the overall user experience. This type of responsiveness to user demands and needs entails intelligent web design.

Let me give you an example. Recently, I did a purchase at snapdeal.com through a “Credit card emi” payment mode. Inadvertently, instead of “Credit card emi” I selected “Credit card” as payment mode. Why? Because “Credit card” was the first selection in payment options, I was charged for full amount on my card and I had to go through a difficult process of cancellation, reversal and dial number of support calls to sort this out and convert the payment mode to EMI option.

Think about this for a minute, assuming, “Credit card EMI” is the most preferred payment method by your customers then doesn’t it make sense to promote “Credit card EMI” link as the preferred payment option. Similarly, all web business have a pricing page, will it not be great if preferred pricing plan is auto selected or the best holiday plans are promoted on travel sites. Further this user behavior can be automated and minimize web developers effort to modify these behavioral changes in the code multiple times. Of course, a user can choose other options but filtering the best option for customers would definitely help in gaining that edge over user experience

It doesn’t mean to automate these preferences and have no control over the changes happening on your website. Responsiveness must also expand to mean to adopt user demands, needs and their behavior.

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5 thoughts on “Responsive web design, Is it?

  1. Setting a sensible default does not have anything in common with responsiveness, that’s just usability.

    Responsive means the opposite of what you’re talking about, ie. serving different things to different people to serve different needs, instead of choosing a one size fits all ‘best’ option.

  2. There is no direct correlation between responsive and issue the author points out. The extent to which responsive affects usability is in it’s ability to refactor visually, the elements on a page to fit a variety of screen sizes,that’s all. Responsive has nothing to do with setting smart defaults.

    “Responsive design implies response to user behavior that enhances the overall user experience.” No it doesn’t. Al responsive was ever meant to do was visually refactor elements. We shouldn’t keep trying to extend the meaning of what responsive is otherwise it will cease to have meaning.

    @Ian – maybe I’m not reading your comment correctly but responsive is about “one size fits all’, to an certain extent. A single code base (HTML) that can be delivered to every device regardless of screen size. What you’re saying is more like adaptive design, not responsive. There is a difference.

    • Yep bit of a mis-read, my point is that the visual refactoring you mention means something can be displayed differently in different circumstances, which is pretty much the opposite of way that the author has interpreted the meaning of the term. Agree that setting a logical default value has nothing to do with responsive at all, and that trying to extend or change accepted terminology is not helpful.

      • These are my views to extend the meaning of responsiveness to other than devices. It depends if u wish to extend or stick to conventional wisdom.

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