Remember the Motorola Brick? It was a really cool phone until wildly superior options emerged – and then this “new technology” became the butt of dinosaur tech jokes.

And guess what? Responsive design is about to suffer the same fate – and it’s going to impact your bottom line, assuming it hasn’t already. Here’s why and what you can do about it:

The Age of RWD

A few years back, responsive web design (RWD) emerged as the solution to make sites mobile-compatible and meet the needs of that growing mobile user base. It was a welcome addition to the cumbersome option of creating an entirely separate mobile site, which no one had the time to do, offering a mobile-responsive site sourced from a single URL.

This kept things simple. Easy to manage.

So it’s understandable that RWD was (and still is) a popular and practical solution for mobile traffic.

But savvy marketers have started to report problems when it comes to RWD.

And they’re right. Because although RWD sites may have made mobile more manageable, they do not perform one crucial function very well at all – converting mobile visitors.

Unfortunately, many are ignoring the problem and simply adjusting their bid modifiers on their PPC accounts to only accept desktop and tablet traffic.

There is a solution though…and it starts with recognizing that RWD is the problem.

RWD Limitations

There are several issues:

Responsive pages are notoriously slow. The same code is being delivered to each device, adding unnecessary page-weight that slows page load. You could be losing mobile visitors here.

Responsive websites usually follow “mobile first” rules. This strategy sacrifices desktop elements to improve download speed on the mobile device.  It strips your carefully thought out website of high-resolution images, content and functionality that your desktop users enjoy.

Responsive design doesn’t pay enough attention to device type. Marketers optimize by understanding and responding to different visitor types and visitor intent. A typical implementation of RWD simply reformats the same content for each device, ignoring unique content and functionality that would match user intent.

Responsive isn’t a good word to describe it. Mobile users don’t have conventional keyboards and they have to deal with small screens. In many cases, mobile users are on the go and not comfortably seated as they would be with a desktop device. So it’s safe to assume that mobile users will have even less patience than desktop users do – and a slow loading experience that doesn’t relate to their intent will not encourage them to come back.

Testing RWD variations is hellish. Ask anyone – it’s time consuming and almost impossible to create independent  variations for each device type.  Most companies don’t thoroughly test because it’s such a drain on resources. And if you use a landing page builder with RWD templates, then it’s impossible.

Everyone is looking for a better mobile solution. Who wants to be called out for not capturing this mobile market in numbers that make sense? While RWD implementations do exist to address some of these issues, they’re Band-Aid fixes that unfortunately, add more page weight.

Of course it takes more than a Band-Aid to fix the architectural flaws of RWD.  And just as it didn’t make sense to develop fixes for the outdated Motorola Brick, I think it’s safe to say we will see the sunset of RWD.

So, what’s a better solution? – Adaptive Web Design (AWD).

A Better Way – AWD

Adaptive Web Design allows for device specific variations and offering ONLY what works best for each device.

It provides the ability to conveniently test each audience segment with unlimited options of content and functionality – and that’s exactly what every company needs to keep up with mobile.

You can’t do this with RWD.

CRO professionals know how to achieve exceptional conversion rates – well above the industry average.  They understand that it’s a process and not about one-size-fits-all templates or a bag of tricks. It involves gathering data and then identifying and reacting to user experience problems.

And it’s because this process is resource intensive that requires the testing of numerous variations that companies are looking for efficiency. That’s why AWD holds great promise…it’s flexible and efficient.

In my view, Adaptive Design is turning this testing efficiency into table stakes.  And it’s my bet that if your landing pages aren’t built with AWD today, they will be tomorrow.