One of the keys to effective communication has long been about your ability to respond. While it’s been true of the web to offer this ‘instant’ interpretation of the word ‘respond’, we have now seen it enter into the technical aspect of the internet and it’s important that business now responds to the demand.
Some of you may have heard the term ‘Responsive Design’ bandied around in recent times. While the internet is well known for its ‘fads’ and its ‘hipster movements’, if you haven’t taken note of this development then you’re seriously missing out.
Responsive design isn’t really a new technology. It’s simply a new way of looking at code that’s been around for a long time and making it suit a new need.
The explosion of mobile users of the web is phenomenal, with many predicting that within the next few years, that mobile internet usage will overtake desktop internet usage. In fact, we’ve already seen this take place with some aspects of the market such as Facebook, where mobile makes up 78% of the site’s visitation.
In general terms, the figure in Australia for mobile vs desktop is closer to a 15/85 split (mobile/desktop). This is still significant and it’s certainly a figure that begs some attention.
With some of our clients now hitting 30% ‘non desktop’ usage (so smartphones and tablets) you have to ask yourself, “would I be prepared to turn away every third customer that came to my door?“
So how do you respond?
Well this is where responsive design is so clever. Rather than being what we would call ‘device dependant’ – where the website is asking the question “What device are you looking at this site with?“
The website is working on providing an ultimate viewing experience by scaling to meet the needs of the screen it is being displayed upon.
How many of you have tried to read a site on a mobile and found that it took ages to load or the type was so small you were having to zoom in just to get a gander at what the heck was going on?
Responsive Design works to alleviate this by making sure that when you have such a small screen, that all the content is readable and accessible. It also allows us to take out unnecessary elements that may not be important.
For example, while on a desktop we may wish to have beautiful big pictures scrolling across the screen, on a mobile, we may wish to remove this element so as to reduce the load time and allow people to get to the information. After all, most mobile web viewers are just trying to get to the information.
It also allows us to customise content depending on the screen size to ensure that we’re communicating effectively. One neat idea would be to have a QR code on your desktop version that allowed visitors to scan the code and then have that information come up on their mobile. The same page but now it’s transportable! Now the kicker is, there is no need for the QR code on the mobile version…with responsive design, we simply remove it.
‘Responding’ has always been critical in business. Responding to your clients needs and your information responding to their demands could well be the difference between you and your competition.
*Oh…one more thing. This site (thebox.com.au) is not yet fully responsive. We’ve been so busy developing all our clients’ sites, that we haven’t had a chance to update our own framework. We’ll be sure to let you know when we do update!