Chief Content Officer - August 2012 - (Page 10)
Responsive web design may offer marketers a solution to the gadget arms-race by promising a cost-effective, channel-agnostic approach to publishing digital content.
arketers and technologists are buzzing about the field of responsive design because it promises to solve a critical problem: creating engaging content for a proliferating number of devices. But can responsive design deliver on such a tall order? In essence, the responsive-design methodology makes certain all channels are designed as one using clear content prioritization. Whether you see a web page on a laptop or a mobile device, the experience is consistent and optimized for viewing on each device, essentially, “different but the same.” As more companies behave like publishers and rely on content to connect with customers, they must think about how to design an engaging content-based experience, from full-screen desktop to small-screen smartphone— without having to reinvent the experience with each new device that comes around. Want to understand what responsive design looks like? Take a look at Starbucks’ new website on a desktop, tablet and phone—and see how the company creates an optimal reading experience for each context. The Boston Globe site offers yet another example of what’s possible.
their entire portfolio of content and begin to prioritize the most important elements. If you are struggling over whether a piece of content is necessary, ask yourself, “If the content is not important in a mobile environment, is it really important at all?” Simply put, the smallest device will have the most important pieces of content. More content is introduced as you work your way up in resolution size from smartphone, to tablet, to laptop and finally desktop.
How it’s done.
Content prioritization is the first step in a usercentric approach to responsive design. Break your web content into core elements or building blocks. To prioritize, ask yourself, “What do my customers need on a smartphone? Tablet? Desktop? How will they use each device to access information?” The content your customers absolutely need for the most basic, useful experience is delivered on the smartphone. With each bigger screen (i.e. resolution), introduce more content. Your approach must take into account the most important content based on the context of each device, from the perspective of your users.
This “mobile-first” approach is important because it forces you to design for the most frustrating viewing experiences—a small screen and a slow connection—and zero in on what matters most. Not surprisingly, a mobilefirst perspective often leads to a realization that your website is overfilled with content that doesn’t support your objectives or lead to conversions. Also, research shows even small delays in load time can turn away viewers, and so a design that begins with the mobile experience prioritizes speed, leading to a better desktop experience as well.
Old technique, new technology
Responsive design has been around a long time, but has picked up steam lately because of device proliferation— ever heard of the “phablet”?—and because consumers behave differently with their devices than what was expected. The idea that consumers might shop on their smartphones was once considered ludicrous—but more than 60 percent of mobile users now make purchases while at home. And the idea of consumers engaging with “second” and “third” screens while viewing television is no longer novel. All this means consumers need a consistent user experience across all devices, and want an optimal viewing experience for each device.
When to consider responsive design?
To put more of the content users want in their hands, companies must look across
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Chief Content Officer - August 2012