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5th Finger’s Patrick Collins on the Value of Responsive Design

The “fluid layout” is here to stay and a fundamental shift in Web development is under way.

Patrick Collins, president at 5th Finger, is on a mission to teach the public about responsive design — an approach to building a Web site that allows it to respond and adapt to any device, eliminating the need for multiple sites.

Collins said the “fluid layout” is here to stay and that a fundamental shift in Web development is under way.

With responsive design, a single site can work across desktops, smartphones and tablets. Having a workable presence across the digital spectrum is important, and he said brands can expect to see a 30 to 40 percent increase in mobile-commerce revenues with responsive design.

“You’ll realize that [having] separate sites and analytics isn’t ideal. Your users want the full site. They will transact more on a full site,” Collins said of the benefits of possessing a single URL, adding that “even Google recommends this as best practice.”

Collins said speed is critical to return on investment, as are organizational design changes company-wide. He suggested starting the design process with a smaller screen and layering on. He also urged interested parties to get their Web teams involved early, keeping analytics and A/B testing strategies top of mind from the onset of development.

After contact lens merchant 1800contacts.com unveiled a site containing responsive design, the company saw a 10 percent increase in its conversion rate.

San Francisco-based 5th Finger, a Merkle company, has also worked with Nars, Coca-Cola, Victoria’s Secret, Microsoft, Sunglass Hut and Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc.