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Disadvantages of responsive web design for big eCommerce sites?

     
7:39 am on Mar 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hello,

From your experience, what are the disadvantages of having a responsive web design on a big e-Commerce website with tens of thousands of pages?

The website is running on Magento, if that helps in any way.

Thanks in advance for sharing your information!
10:02 am on Mar 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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none ... i don't understand how the number of pages makes any difference.

(how well the responsive site is designed is a different matter)
10:22 am on Mar 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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What are the advantages of not having a responsive design?
11:03 am on Mar 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Compared to what? Having a separate mobile version and desktop versions?

A responsive site advantages out weight the disadvantages by a large part. But I will have a go at your question

- Responsive sites are more complex to develop (frame works make this much easier now though)
- On average responsive site pages usually require more processing power to render
- Extra bandwidth as responsive sites loads content for all viewports
11:27 am on Mar 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Thank you all for your answers

I've asked about the disadvantages because, from searching the web for information so far, I haven't discovered a clear explanation or shared experience about the negative sides of having a responsive design compared to dynamic serving or having a different website for mobile (M. site).

What are your opinions on the following statements:

- Issues in browser compatibility with older versions

- Higher loading time on mobile due to the fact that all the content designed for the desktop version will also be present and must load on mobile

- Difficulties in optimizing user experience

Thanks again for your help
12:38 pm on Mar 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@JesterMagic

Comparing the UE of responsive with non-responsive.

@andreicomoti

My own website has been responsive for many years, and I can't say I have experienced (or had any user report) any negative consequences. Before going down the responsive route I ran separate versions for a short time, and on many SEO and administrative points I found it a nightmare.

On the question of content, a lot depends on its purpose, but if it is important then users probably need to see it whatever the device, and if it isn't then you may wish to ask yourself why you are loading it at all. Everything is scalable (or can be hidden or made viewable) using CSS alone, so making content respond to screen-size should be seen as an opportunity, not a headache.

Bandwidth only becomes a speed-sensitive issue if you use too much: an efficient desktop version shouldn't be slow to load on a low-speed ISP connection (lots of real desktop users still have them), so the same content shouldn't be slow to load on 3G. Any processing that determines which version you see (in my case, a couple of lines on a stylesheet) is no more intrusive than that which determines which version you load.

Browser-compatibility isn't generally problematic unless you're trying to make things work in IE8 or earlier (and was problematic with IE at version launch, let alone now), and at some point you have to ask how much effort the UE of someone using IE5 on a dial-up modem is worth, bearing in mind that they have not made any effort themselves.

Optimising UE is a problem we all face (regardless of what devices or browsers our users have), but in my view Google's Mobile-Friendly test states an obvious target:

"This page is easy to use on a mobile device."

If ease-of-use is your priority for all platforms you won't go far wrong, and on that point it is also important to remember that not all displays - desktop or mobile (and what about tablets?) - are the same size, and not all users browse only in full-screen.
1:32 pm on Mar 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for sharing your experience, Tony. I will consider all of these factors.
2:22 pm on Mar 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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One is ugly and looks like every other site out there. The other might actually have a thing called "design" or (wait for it) style. Find a website that went responsive and was flooded with positive comments. Good luck. The hope would be that everyone else is just a generic (ugly) then customers have no choice and can't go somewhere more pleasing to the eye. I think hoping that the rest of your competitors go ugly is more likely and perhaps most have already taking that leap. Good luck finding a neutral view around here.
2:52 pm on Mar 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Designing something that looks good in more than one size obviously takes more imagination than designing something that only looks good on a skinny teenager, but that doesn't make it a bad objective.

Made-to-measure for every possible viewport? How long have you got?

Accessibility is a core function. Style is a matter of taste.
4:17 pm on Mar 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Higher loading time on mobile due to the fact that all the content designed for the desktop version will also be present and must load on mobile
If youíre talking about text (including css), thatís trivial. Youíre talking about a couple of kilobytes at most. Superfluous content only becomes relevant if there are entire images that arenít to be displayed on smaller devices. In that situation, make it a background image and set the smaller version in css to background: none so it simply doesnít load at all.
6:03 pm on Mar 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Seems like a zillion years ago, but when I went responsive I took a different route by setting max-widths so that the difference between desktop and mobile was a little as possible. Tends to make one deal with the content (and style) up front and not rely on so many "hide this", "shift that" kind of thing. End result is less code, faster loads, and the user getting what they came for up front instead of wading through sections that seem "incomplete" as they scroll down on the little screens.

YMMV

Go responsive no matter what. That is the current standard.
6:07 pm on Mar 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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the content designed for the desktop version will also be present and must load on mobile

The fundamental problem with the statement is that content is being designed for desktop and then being adapted for mobile. The days of desktop glory are long gone. Most users today come from mobile device, Google crawls and indexes websites with mobile crawler. Build content for mobile devices and then adapt the content for desktop, and all the other screens (tablets, tvs, game-console, etc.).
6:35 pm on Mar 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Build content for mobile devices and then adapt the content for desktop


While that might be good general advice, the question should really address who you are producing it for, rather than which device. The corporate environment is stll very predominantly desktop, and if you are selling B2B products or services I think designing primarily for small-screen hand-held devices would be a mistake. If your market is people spilling out of clubs looking for your takeaway, how many of them will have a desktop/laptop with them?

Overall - of course, stats from different sources vary - there is no significant majority yet for mobile browsing over desktop. Both account for a very large number of users, and most of us don't use either exclusively. Giving insufficient attention to either risks losing users.
6:37 pm on Mar 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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^^^ Commonsense! In reality, who surfs full screen on today's high res monitors? Half screen, even quarter width is more likely.

In reality responsive means the content fits ANY DEVICE so nothing "extra" or "made for this instead of that" is required, or desired.
7:11 pm on Mar 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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ANY DEVICE above also means ANY SCREEN WIDTH, just to keep things clear.
1:26 am on Mar 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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While every site has it's own business requirements responsive web design has become the accepted default best practice. Even Google has moved from suggesting it as an option to recommending it as preferred.

Unfortunately, most implementations are far from optimal. The most common fault being simply showing desktop aka large viewport content to every device. It 'works' as in everything generally adjusts/flows/fits however, user experience typically increasingly worsens as viewport dimensions shrink.

In fact this entire thread could have been cut and pasted from 2011. Yes, eight years ago the webdev community (and Google) were discussing/recommending/demonstrating (Boston Globe went responsive) responsive design, mobile first with progressive enhancement, personalisation, contextual design/delivery, etc.

Approximately half of enterprise eCom is not only responsive but also increasingly personalised with some degree of contextual differentiation. Responsive design by itself is no longer sufficient to compete successfully in many niches.

Perhaps the greatest hurdle facing responsive eCom sites flowing from desktop is that average page size now exceeds 3MB. Given that currently the average webpage takes ~20 seconds from click to render on mobile and that 40% of mobile users have left by 3-seconds...

Mobile is at least a difference in degree and in many markets a difference in kind such that ye olde desktop style designer is skunked if even in the 'responsive' mobile game. It is a matter of bandwidth, of time to render, of conversion rate and ROI, differences in modems, chips, OS, viewport... of user experience...

A few of us use a hybrid of responsive design that includes server side components/solutions that minimises use of client side javascript, CSS, and media. The webdev world not simply changes but adds options and complexity every year.

This conversation was relatively new in 2011, it is now 2019...
3:07 am on Mar 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I took all of that back to the hey day of when the "web was new" and monitors were 800x600 (most of them).

Content rendered correctly, the author (webmaster) had to put things in the proper order of priority and I have not looked back since (though I did adopt a max 700 to make sure for the variety of small screens).

Code responsive all you like, just know that the CONTENT needs to be in PRESENTATION to make any difference. Screw that up and the pooch will love you.
5:25 am on Mar 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I find the level of analysis of the OP question laughable. The most honest answer is to view comments from users who were forced to view a new "responsive" so-called design. Given a choice you better believe the customer finds the solutions as a downgrade and not an upgrade. The difference now is that every competitor has gone down the same road and thus, the customer can get ugly site A or ugly site B. However if site C realizes that desktop or laptop users don't want a smartphone version of a website on their 1080p or 4K monitors, then there is an opportunity. But then common sense isn't really part of the discussion. That fact is as clear as day from this thread and responses. Sometimes things aren't as difficult as they seem. I appreciate everyone who kills design for the sake of responsive "one shoe fits all" because people will appreciate more what I'm offering. Proponents of design-less websites? Bravo. Keep it up.
6:14 am on Apr 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hi,
Disadvantages of Responsive Website Design:
-You need to take care of user-experience on your website for both desktop and mobile
-Technical inconvenience
-Poor content adaption
-Tough navigation
-Takes lots of time in development
9:08 am on Apr 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Proponents of design-less websites? Bravo. Keep it up.


*chuckles!*

Responsive to me is the same as artists painting miniature masterpieces on cameos.

Beauty and Ugly, of course, are subjective to the viewer alone, and might not be the same for others.

Responsive has the benefit of forcing webmasters to display content LOGICALLY, images not as decorations, but IMPACT/CONTENT as well.

The world is mostly small screens these days (regardless of resolution) and great content can be displayed/shared on those devices.