Magazine article American Banker

The Debate around Responsive Design in Mobile Banking

Magazine article American Banker

The Debate around Responsive Design in Mobile Banking

Article excerpt

Byline: Penny Crosman

Responsive web design -- a method of designing and developing websites such that they display well on a range of devices -- is a seductive concept, especially for banks that struggle to maintain mobile banking apps for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows devices. The ideal is the company has one set of code, one product to manage and it's set, no matter what smartphones and tablets customers are using.

The reality is not so simple, and a debate is going on in the industry around how useful responsive design is, and whether or not it can replace native apps.

"It's very popular," notes Clay Almy, executive director, integration and JEE Services, financial services at Blackstone Technology Group, an IT consulting firm based in San Francisco. "I think it's a shiny bauble. Often an architect inside a bank will have bumped into it, thought it was cool, and maybe not considered the fact that it was more relevant to his content website of choice, such as the Washington Post, than a transactional app for a mobile device."

The real battle, he says, comes down to what customers want to use. Banks will then have to decide whether they are going to predominantly focus on maintaining a mobile web-based solution or continue down the native app route that many have taken, which is inherently fragmented and costly.

"In a lot of cases, banks don't yet have a grasp of what their customers want to use and what's the easiest way for them to handle this," Almy says. "There are times where mobile web is fine, there are other instances where you want that sleeker, richer app experience. I see value in responsive design, but I don't necessarily see it being brought forth in a way that's aligned with what customers are clamoring for. It's early days."

Almy's colleague Ken Hans, executive director, financial services at Blackstone, has an even stronger take. …

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