What’s the latest buzz for online digital marketing? Responsive design, a web design approach that mirrors the same website for all viewing experiences: handheld, tablet, laptop, desktop. In short, it’s all about the design and how it works on all devices – seamlessly and at minimum cost.

What to consider for responsive web design

When considering the responsive design approach, web designers and business owners must consider which devices audiences will use to access their site online. As well, the experience includes several aspects that create the experience for the user:

  • Download time
  • Screen size
  • Space on site for touch screen capability
  • Ease of moving from screen to screen

Ultimately, you want consistency regardless of how the site is accessed. Who wants to reinvent a site for each device, or update multiple sites for one update?

Responsive web design strategy doesn’t happen overnight. The importance of content, design and cost must be viewed through a different lens. This strategy’s payout is long term. To get started, you need to analyze your content, your current design and your pocketbook.

Prioritize your content

First instincts tell us to show everything, tell it all, share as much as possible. It’s too much. Start with prioritizing your content. Answer these questions:

  • Which links will your audience use on each device?
  • What content brings the highest traffic?
  • What call to action will your clients perform on each device (and what do you ultimately want them to do)?
  • What content creates engagement?

Your analytics, combined with the habits of your audience, should serve as your guide. Know which pages are accessed through mobile devices. Understand what your clients value on your site. Build your strategy around your site’s current success.

Start your responsive design with the “thumb” in mind

Think small and then work to bigger screens. What is essential information that is needed, say, when someone visits your site using their smartphone?

Smaller screens demand efficiency and good use of space. Bigger screens allow for more content. There’s just more real estate with which to work. It’s best to design your web approach with the smallest device in mind: a smartphone. Pages must load quickly, links need to work fluidly, and forms have to be easy to fill out and submit. Consider these questions:

  • Can your customers order your product with ease?
  • Can you generate leads on a 3-inch screen as easily as on a full screen?
  • Can audiences interact without delay, regardless of device?
  • Is your brand showcased to its maximum potential?

As you design your site for the small screen, you will soon realize what IS and IS NOT top claim content.  As you move to larger screens, more content, visuals, and interaction can be added.

Cost: what is responsive web design worth?

Everything. It’s the chance to get your audience engaged no matter what device they are on. The cost of great communication and customer service is priceless, right?

As far as your dollars go, you’ll want to run a cost benefit analysis for the long term. Responsive design may have a higher price tag, both in time and money, compared to a regular ol’ website. In contrast, paying for each device design may be more economically spaced out. However, over the course of time, the upfront charge may be less than the cumulative total of each device. And these days, if you’re working with someone on a new website design project, the responsive design costs are typically incorporated and assumed in the fees.

Time and planning for this website launch will involve many players: web designers, content specialists, and program developers. According to sources cited by Content Marketing Institute, 43% of mobile internet usage occurs at home and 86% use their device when watching TV.

Multi-tasking will be your competition.

The expertise of all of these key contributors will aid in ensuring your responsive web design launch is successful from day one. Keep in mind, one negative online experience will deter future visits to your site. Getting it right the first time will gain loyalty.

Examples of responsive web design

Image courtesy of MarkupBox.com

Companies that invite daily visits are embracing the responsive design approach. Check out these sites on all your devices: Starbucks, Morehazards, and The Boston Globe.  All mirror the same graphics, look and feel whether in 3-inch handheld devices or full screen computers.

How will your website fair in the responsive web world? The future is now. Tomorrow is today. Time to start planning.

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