How much to make a website responsive?
April 22, 2014 6:26 PM   Subscribe

So, the company that employs me just recently rebuilt and redesigned their website. It's a pretty large site (think trade association that does a lot of public outreach), but only about eight templates. Now that that's done, the brass wants to the site to be responsive, and now it's time to budget that.

Yeah, I know. We should have done this during the redesign process, but they didn't. Details: Kentico 6 platform, about eight page templates (news story, basic text/graphics page, document download lander, etc.). Not really complicated pages at all.

Basically, what ballpark would you shoot for? $150,000? $15,000? $150? I'm finding it difficult to figure out just because there isn't a total redesign to do with it, but I do understand this will be a major overhaul.

Since it probably matters, we don't have a mobile site either. Phones and tablets see our site just like somebody with a 27" widescreen.

Anonymous because, well, it wouldn't be that hard to find out who I work for, and I don't want them or anybody else to know. Throwaway email:
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is a tough one to answer - while you may only have about 8 templates that need to be redeveloped, it also depends on the content that is in those templates.

Also - "responsive" is just not "making the site resize" - you really need to focus on performance: is there a lot of javascript on the pages? are they image heavy?

If the site is built on a solid html base, this may not be too difficult - the final deciding factor will be what the design of the site looks like.
posted by punkrockrat at 6:37 PM on April 22, 2014

So part of this depends on if you want a truly seperate mobile experience for your users, or just a reasonable representation of your content on smaller screens. Designing a site to be responsive from the start would consider these factors. Things like if a large image is in your template as an img (HTML) or a background (CSS). Should you have shortened content for a mobile user and display longer form on a desktop? Should you loose some special features to speed up load times? Is the content logically ordered?

If the site has good bones and requires no server side optimization (e.g. could all be done in CSS) and your previous developers didn't leave things a total mess, this can be done with a few dozen designer hours. Maybe 40 to be conservative. What that translates to in dollars will depend on your market.
posted by fontophilic at 6:57 PM on April 22, 2014

And after reading the wiki page on Kentico, it disturbingly mentions shipping with table based templates. Ensure you do not have this before proceeding.
posted by fontophilic at 7:00 PM on April 22, 2014

If you're hiring someone to do it top to bottom with very little support or time from the company - budget in the neighborhood of $15,000 - $30,000. If there's going to be ample support, that number may adjust down as far as $5k depending on a number of factors. Expect it to take one month for a vendor experienced with doing a conversion like this. Budget three months for the project start to finish (rfp, gear up, design sign off, testing, launch) if you have a good project manager. More if not. For someone that is competent but not super experienced, add 1-3 months to your timeline. Add additional time (maybe not much) if they're not familiar with the specific ways you're using your site.

Feel free to memail or email me - I just went through this process ending in December.
posted by stoneweaver at 11:50 PM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

You could also consider an adaptive approach and offer a responsive version of your site for devices with smaller viewports to be redirected to.
posted by missmerrymack at 5:24 AM on April 23, 2014

It is 2014, you do not want a mobile version of your site. You want your 8 templates and your CSS re-coded to render a responsive website. This will mean new templates. They can look almost exactly like the old templates, but they will need to be coded from the ground up. Tables can be made responsive but it depends on how accessible the Kentico code is.

I would budget 40 hours for this.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:16 AM on April 23, 2014

W3 Markup specializes in converting existing HTML to responsive for a couple hundred bucks per template. A couple guys at my work swear by them. They said you get super clean, valid, cross-browser/cross-device HTML.
posted by rada at 7:54 AM on April 23, 2014

I think it's super challenging to make an estimate without a code audit. Depending on the complexity of the site and the way pages are structured now it could be nearly trivial (say, 5-10k) or it could be a massive undertaking. If I was quoting this site unseen I don't think I would quote anything less than 30k to cover bad situations.

As punkrockrat points out, it also depends a lot on what the goalposts are. If you just want the site to render in a low-width situation, that's more straightforward. If you're dedicated to making sure everything your site does on a desktop device works on a range of mobile devices, that's going to be more challenging. There will be performance issues, browser compatibility issues, forms will probably need to be redesigned, any media may well need to be re-encoded. Changing over the templates could be anywhere from 100% of the work to 50% depending on the number and complexity of the edge cases.

I'm a little skeptical of that W3 Markup service. It looks like they do PSD -> HTML/CSS, which is more straightforward than modifying a large existing site.
posted by heresiarch at 7:59 AM on April 23, 2014

I'm a UI designer and developer who has taught a course on responsive design and converted two web applications into responsive, mobile-friendly solutions. If everything is ready to revamp into "responsive" structures (i.e. you use SASS or LESS and have really organized CSS, you have modernize.js or other cross-browser legacy shims/shivs in place, your original images are high resolution, and you are already using HTML5 and CSS3 ...) perhaps 40 hours. Most likely, however, you're going to need 4-8 weeks to redesign the content and navigation, create responsive images, and update the templates to HTML5 and CSS3.
posted by apennington at 8:02 AM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think you're getting answers from two different viewpoints - people who are used to dealing with fairly small scale sites, and people who are coming at this from a large institutional viewpoint. It's pretty easy to sort out by who thinks this is not going to take very long/cost much, and those who think you should be prepared for it to be sort of spendy/take a bit of time. When you're evaluating which of those two views is most applicable to your situation, here are some things to consider:

Do you have a corporate culture that's going to want this exactly right before it rolls out? Or is it ok if some of the content doesn't render perfectly and this can be an ongoing process?

How many pages of content will you need to at least verify work on the new design? Is it above or below 50? Is it above or below 150?

Do you have things like calendars or event registration that will need careful thinking? Or is it mostly just text and graphics?

How many people will need to sign off on each stage? How involved will they be throughout? (More people = more time = more money)
posted by stoneweaver at 9:43 AM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

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