In this edition of Ask UXmatters, our panel of UX experts discusses whether responsive Web design is really necessary for ecommerce sites and some of the key elements of responsive designs.
Imagine that your company has chosen you to be part of a team that is going to design and build or update an ecommerce Web site. The budget and deadline are tight, and the boss wants to know what is the minimum that you can do to create a strong, profit-building machine. What would you tell him? Would you stay focused only on your existing desktop Web site—or if you’re creating a new site, build for the desktop first—and let your mobile customers deal with it as best they can? Would you build a Web site that is somewhat different on and adapts to each type and size of device? Would you insist on developing a mobile app? And how would you plan to maintain the solution? Read More
Some Web sites look as though someone has cobbled together a few clip-art images and some text. Conversely, other Web sites look extremely professional and, in some sense of the word, beautiful. Design is art after all. Then, there’s everything in between. Some have taken the position that everyone craves more beautiful Web sites,  but do these more beautiful Web sites result in an increase in conversions? Not necessarily.
Tread Carefully in Creating a Pretty Web Site
In my experience, doing a Web site redesign in the hope that the site will look prettier and more professional can sometimes result in lower conversions. When we take an archaic, ugly Web site and turn it into something that looks slick and sexy, but it delivers underwhelming results, we need to understand why this is the case. There are lots of examples of such unintended effects of redesigns, where conversions have decreased despite a site’s visual impact and the changes’ getting a positive qualitative response from visitors. Here are just a few:
In 2010, Digg.com launched a radical redesign that resulted in a 26% loss in site traffic. 
In 2011, Target’s redesign  suffered from myriad technical problems and reduced revenues.
After spending about £150 million and two years in development, in early 2014, Marks & Spencer launched their new Web site, only to see online sales plunge by 8.1% in the first quarter after the site’s launch—despite the site’s looking classier, as shown in Figures 1–3.