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.

This story first appeared in the October 9, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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 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.

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