Responsive Design - The Answer to Cohesive Integration of Mobile, Search, and Brand
What is Responsive Design?
Responsive design is more a philosophy or a methodology than a "thing". It's the approach that says "I want to build my site & respresent my brand in a way that it just naturally looks great on all devices". Responsive design places the responsibility on your agency to build interactive systems that adapt to the visitors medium.
What Does Responsive Design Look Like?
How do you know when you're on a site that has been built using a responsive design approach? You'll be able to tell in a few ways:
- The URL of the site does not change based on the device you are using. This means that www.goupward.com is your URL for the desktop and www.goupward.com is the URL for the mobile version.
- The images and layout adjust to reflect the device you are using. You may notice some images move or disappear entirely when you change devices. This is the site adjusting to your medium.
- Menus may change based on your device. Certain types of content may not be appropriate for very small or very large devices. With responsive design we may limit menus to only display optimal navigation for the device being used.
What are the Benefits of Responsive Design?
Search Engine Friendliness. As companies realize the importance of responsive design for cleaner design and more deliberate treatment of their brand, it's becoming apparent that they overlook one of the most critical benefits of this display methodology - search engine friendliness. Without responsive design you may be accidentally duplicating content (mobile.goupward.com/about-us.html vs www.goupward.com/about-us.html). This can confuse the search engines and create a negative impact on your ability to rank well in the search engines. The beauty of responsive design is that the search engines do not need to make determinations as to the intent of your pages - you handle that by creating only ONE page and rendering it to fit the device requesting the page.
Treatment of your Brand. Often critical brand decisions are relegated to a technology person when it comes to the "mobile version" of a website. This is a risky approach. Sites should be designed with the common display types account for from the outset keeping the treatment of your brand in the hands of your marketing team rather than a technology-based decision made late in the game.
Not only allowing, but encouraging mobile use. Your site should encourage the use of mobile technologies. Too many sites today simply tolerate the use of mobile technologies. This is clearly not the direction to take. Mobile is becoming the new normal, and should be treated as such.
Allows your site to be device agnostic. This not only applies to mobile devices, but also to print, projector, screen readers, and other devices that may be getting too little attention. Responsive design says "Meet the visitor where they are - really".
Don't Be Late to the Party
Remember the old days of "This site is best displayed in Netscape Navigator 4x"? Saying "click here for the mobile version" or worse "click here for the full site" is rapidly becoming the new "best displayed in" faux pas. Start planning today to get all of your "versions" under one roof. We can help of course.