Why Responsive Design is Responsible Design

August 29, 2017
| ByMike Ryan

For reward and recognition program planners, responsive web design (RWD), an approach that provides both optimal viewing and interaction with any mobile device is not just a prudent option, it’s really the only responsible choice you can make. Here are a couple of reasons why:

1. Because mobile usage is as fragmented as it is ubiquitous

There are currently 2.3 billion smartphones users worldwide, tracking to exceed 2.5 billion in less than two years. Within the United States alone, 223 million smartphones are in circulation, with the number projected to increase by an additional 15 million by the beginning of 2019.

Smartphone ownership is nearly absolute across working populations. Ownership percentages across Millennials and Gen Xers are in the high 90s, while working age Baby Boomers average 74%.

As market acceptance explodes, so do choices. Yes, Apple holds the majority share in the U.S. but almost half of the remaining market is split between Samsung, Verizon, AT&T and LG. On a global scale the market is even more fractured. The leader, Samsung, holds a little more than 20%. In addition to the brands above, Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi round out the mix.

So what are people using to access the web? While phones outrank desktop computers and tablets combined, those devices still account for almost half of all online entries. That means the aggregate combination of screen sizes and resolutions across brands are in the dozens. Without the proper planning, the inconsistent viewing and participatory experience across all these devices could derail any program.

2. Because the user experience is what ultimately dictates program traction

A great user experience will propel people to use the system and adopt its practices. Regardless of whether your employees are accessing the program via their desktop computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone or some combination depending on where they are and what time of day it is, it is always a best practice to develop your program with availability in mind. The best programs are consistently accessible, without restrictions on time, place or device in use, because they are built in responsive design.

Most reward programs are geared to employees. However, it’s also quite common that participants can work outside the corporate structure. For example, in addition to dedicated sales forces, some incentive programs could be directed at outside distributors and channel partners. In that scenario, there is no way of dictating or controlling the device each will use to access the program. With so many companies having a formal BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy (or at least considering one), responsive design will play a huge role in shaping everyone’s user experience.

Consider this statistic, 70% of consumers ignore (or worse, delete) content that’s doesn’t render properly on their mobile device. Eventually, they will write the site off altogether; 38% will stop engaging completely if the content/layout is unattractive or distorted. Your employees will do the same if your sales incentive or employee recognition programs don’t appear as they should, or don’t function properly across the many different devices in play. How will you ever explain that outcome to executive management if/when you didn’t plan for multiple devices?

The bottom line is this; recognition and/or sales incentive programs will go unused when the site that delivers them is too cumbersome to interact with. When that happens the returns promised go unrealized.

Responsive design protects more than reputations; it protects programs. With it users won’t need to pinch or zoom or side scroll to see program content that doesn't fit onto their mobile screen. It will make your program not just accessible, but attractive to all of your program’s participants.

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