Responsive Design = Responsible Design
There are almost six billion mobile subscribers around the world, with more than one billion individuals using their smart phones and tablets exclusively to access the Internet. Brands and marketers in particular see the opportunity to deliver content to this vast audience. With such a variety of devices and browsers available, it’s important to build web properties that translate across varied platforms on both desktop and mobile devices. To successfully deliver content to this audience, the best solution is responsive design.
Some argue that web properties should be built with separate desktop and mobile-optimized versions of the site. While there can be the option to offer more customized content to mobile viewers this way, there are plenty of drawbacks, such as the maintenance of multiple sites and the possibility that a mobile device could be directed to a desktop web page, resulting in a poor user experience. The purpose of responsive design is to provide a positive user experience that builds customer loyalty and conversions without having to maintain multiple sites.
At the core of responsive design is user experience, the experience of all existing and potential customers. A website is often the first entry point or introduction to a new business or product for potential customers. If they arrive at a site — using a mobile device — that isn’t responsive, the site may display in such a way that requires users to scroll and zoom to view a page or may not function as intended. Let’s say, for example, that I’m walking down the street and want to call a particular business and ask a question, but when I go to the site, there is no click-to-call option. This leaves me with the options of either memorizing the number while I switch gears into phone mode or scrounging up a pen and paper. Both are inconvenient and less than optimal for a mobile web experience. Overlapping copy, pull-down menus that don’t function and links that are broken are the fastest ways to send a consumer to a competitor’s site — all while diminishing the credibility of the business.
A couple of years ago, there was an article geared toward artists creating websites that contained some very sound advice applicable to everyone creating a website. Photojournalist and web design instructor Richard Koci Hernandez suggested that when creating a website, navigation should be simple enough that your mother or grandmother could use it. The point being that a website and the entire experience should be created with actual users in mind — not designers or developers. The design should be clean, the sitemap easy to navigate and the site should be responsive on multiple devices and browsers. This should be kept in mind during the design phase when making decisions regarding widgets, hovers and other features that behave differently under cursors and touch screens. By creating a design with these variables in mind, complications can be avoided. Additionally, search engines prefer a single source of content. By providing only one URL, redirects are not an issue.
At this point, mobile options and users are increasing daily, so there will continue to be an expanding array of platforms. Rather than scrambling to update sites to accommodate constant advancements in display and browsers, responsive design allows us to be prepared now for whatever is coming next. By implementing a responsive design, websites will be more compatible and available to a greater number of users, delivering a positive user experience that will ultimately increase bottom lines for businesses.
As the Director of Operations, Tim Kauffold is in charge of planning and overseeing the execution of Oneupweb’s strategic vision. Handling everything from employee concerns to client side technology issues, Kauffold’s role in the organization is critical to its mission. Kauffold is credited with the development of Oneupweb’s renowned paid search division, which he expertly oversees to this day, developing and defining proven strategies for enterprise clients. Tim’s remarkable and uncommon ability to speak “techie” to the clients and the public has made him a valuable asset to the client management team, working with some of the world’s leading brands.