Does Your Website Open On IPads & Mobile Phones? Do You Need Responsive Design

Two weeks back one of our clients was in complete dismay that the site we created for him did not open on his iPad. It took a while for us to make him understand that his entire site was built on Flash. He has not released the last installment of our payments. And the work ahead on promoting his brand is all stalled as he grapples with the fact that we will have to build another version for his site to open in hand held devices.

So, well yes, the big question: Do you need a website that will open in just about any device that one can access the Internet on?

But the bigger question: Do you need to make that extra investment in getting a responsive design for your website.

What Is Responsive Design

Its been doing the rounds on the web for a while, but for the uninitiated, here’s a quick note on it: Responsive design is a design that can adapt itself to any device. So based on the screen size of the device, as well as the technology on which it operates, this site will degrade gracefully.

Responsive design is built using languages such as HTML, HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery, and does not use Flash at all.

Smashing Magazine Responsive Design On Desktop

Smashing Magazine Responsive Design On Desktop

Smashingmagazine.com on iPad

Smashingmagazine.com on iPad

smashingmagazine.com on mobile phones

smashingmagazine.com on mobile phones

How Is Responsive Design Different from Web Design

Web design has been led by desktops and laptops that run on platforms that allow Flash. Second, there is fair standardization on screen resolutions (or sizes) and designs are done based on standard resolutions or to adapt to standard resolutions.

Responsive design takes it a step further. Foremost, it eliminates Flash! So Adobe does have some work to do here, and while they are, there are different languages that work to help your site adapt to any device. Our own website is built on part-responsive design. It adapts to tablets and the web, and smart phones. But we do have another mobile version too that addresses the lower end versions of the phone.

BC Web Wise on A Desktop

 

Do You Need Responsive Design?

This is a big question. The answer really lies in the profile of your target audience and their own usage habits of accessing Internet, are they likely to access it on-the-go, or are they sitting at homes and offices when they are likely to access your information. Second, what is the value per customer, and how large is your customer base. So if you are a B2C organization, a typical fast moving consumer goods company for instance, it is likely that a larger audience is on desk and laptops.

bcwebwise.com fluid design on iPad

bcwebwise.com on smartphones

But if you are a financial services company with a B2B product and your TG is the white collared high profile jet-set executive he wants quick information on-the-go and is likely to be on tablets and definitely using the smart phone.

Want to know know how many of your existing audience attempts to access you from any handheld device? Check your Google Analytics. In the left-side menu, click on `Audience’. Browse the operating system and devices used by visitors to find your site. (Source: http://designmodo.com/responsive-design-business/#ixzz1sTELYrni )

How Interactive & Engaging Does Your Site Need To Be?

There is a reason that there are so many Flash developers out there, and while many may want to write them off today, fact is that the levels of interactivity and engagement that Flash can provide is still unmatched because more people today know how Flash works than those who can work on other languages. (Online gaming for instance is dominated by Flash.) If your audience base is largely on the desk and laptops, you may consider not opting for a Responsive Design, but not without the risk of losing the influential lot who may try to access you on-the-go. So have a version of your engagement program specifically built for the handheld devices.

But if your customer is on-the-go, or if your sales force is on-the-go and needs to share info, present your entire product line and service information on the move, then responsive design may be the answer.

For example our website uses Flash, but is programmed not to display the Flash part of the site on an iPad that does not support Flash. The resolution of the site is fluid, and adapts to various screen sizes automatically.

Note: If you are building a Flash site, then there should be alternative text based content so that when a user opens it on an iPad there is graceful degradation of the website.

What You Should Know When Making A Site for Handheld Devices

Excluding iOS (Operating Software for Apple Devices), there are also other OS for tablets like Blackberry (Playbook), Android with various versioning, etc. These tablets come in various sizes and based on these sizes come various resolutions. In such kind of scenarios there should be rigorous testing on various resolutions when your site is getting built.

One Size Fits All vis-a-vis Multiple Versions of your site

A good responsive design is more expensive than traditional Flash, that is, if you are expecting high end animation and transitions that are close to the experience that Flash animation can provide. But a basic website built on an HTML will be the least expensive.

It would be foolhardy to blindly opt for a Responsive Design and limit interactivity you can achieve on desk tops. Equally it would be fool hardy to blindly opt for multiple version of your website that is suited for various devices. A good approach would be to get multiple cost solutions and to clearly understand the design limitations as well as potential of each.

Online Consumer Behaviour – Content Planning for Different Digital Touch Points

Consumers behave differently at different digital touch points. The reason why they visit a brand website, and why they follow a brand on twitter can be very different. Planning content by clearly understanding the visitor’s mindset at different digital touch points can help to establish a meaningful connect with them and fostering a long term relationship. Here’s a quick guide to the Internet user’s digital media psyche:

Online Consumer Behaviour

Users on different digital touch points consume content in each for different reasons

The Website Visitor
Is proactively seeking info in your brand domain

  • This visitor has landed on the website primarily when searching for content or seeing a relevant recommendation or post that links to your website, or has come to the website knowing the url (may be a repeat visitor).
  • Is seeking immediate answers if the visitor has come from a search engine, or is curious to know more about you if the visit is not via a search engine. Repeat visitors come for a specific purpose of information seeking or engagement (such as dabbling with an online app or engaging in a forum).
  • Can engage further in the website if her query is addressed and there is relevant and/or engaging content.
Facebook Logo

Users on Facebook Chance Upon Updates

The Facebook Visitor
It Is The Brand That Is proactively reaching out to this user

  • The consumers here are hanging out to check latest updates from friends, family and acquaintances.
  • Chances upon brand updates, comments and likes if relevant, shares when compelling. Sharing happens when the content is Fun/ Informative / Relevant to immediate circle
  • Clicks to know more, visits the URL when relevancy or engagement is meaningful and there is a ‘need’ for such further engagement
Blog Sites

Blog Readers Want Expert Opinion

The Blog Reader
Is proactively seeking an informed opinion of another consumer or expert

  • Reads up a post when she is searching for information, and/or has subscribed to a favorite blogger’s feeds
  • Prefers a second opinion and usually would scan 2-3 blogs before deciding whose opinion is best suited.
  • Would usually scan blog comments before deciding / making the final choice.
  • Is usually someone to whom word-of-mouth or recommendations counts the most.
Forums

Forum Users Seek Peer Opinion

The Forum Subscriber
This user wants mass opinion, what peers have to say.

  • Usually visits a forum via search, may frequent thereafter
  • Possibly wants to ask a question, get opinions.
  • Reads discussions by others
  • May get answers or make an opinion/choice even without posting a query
Twitter

Twitter Users Follow For Updates

The Twitter Follower
Is proactively following to be updated in the subject

  • Twitter has many inactive, and equal number of hyper active tweeple and the occassional users.
  • There are some who are on twitter with a specific agenda: Save time by following people whose tweets give quick relevant updated information
  • Tweeple usually follow more than one area of interest
  • Reaching them is not always easy due to the rapid updates in tweets

However, visibility on twitter can be enhanced by following trending topics, being crisp and juicy, getting the right people to follow you with relevant hashtags, and targeting the right follows.

Linkedin

Linkedin Users Seek Career Advancement

The LinkedIn User
This consumer is seeking ONLY career or business advancement

  • The LinkedIn user is very specifically looking at making a career advancement, getting deals, networking, improving visibility
  • Will join groups that will give relevant networking opportunities or content that will better their career in some way.
Youtube Logo

Youtube Visitors Seek Visual Info/Demos

The Youtube Visitor
Wants entertainment, visual explanations, demos, how to’s

  • Users watching videos online are likely to have opted for video content when searching for related information
  • Or has been forwarded the link
  • Or is specifically seeking video content directly on Youtube for visual relay of similar information that has been read, unless it is entertainment related.
Search Engines

Audience Is Searching For Domain-related Info

The Search User
Proactively seeking your domain information

  • Is specifically seeking information
  • Tries out 2-3 links or more on first search results
  • Finds different combinations of keywords to refine searches till she gets a satisfactory answer
  • Is likely to spend more time searching for the right information, than done on looking up that information!
  • Is also likely to explore related information and content
Mobile Search

Mobile Search Users Are In A Hurry

Search Users On Mobile
Is in a hurry!

The context of searching on the mobile phone is usually on the go, urgent and also a matter of convenience.

Mobile & Tablet Users
On the move, wants quick info, utility tools & engaging apps

  • More savvy users, and the ones with smart phones use the mobile phone for everything: FB, Twitter, Search, Email, etc.
  • Such users also install and play around with applications that are useful, fun or relevant.
  • The tablet owners, smaller in number, but a significant group and an influential audience does all of the above on tablets.

If you plan to use multiple channels on the web to disseminate your brand information, then customizing or fine tuning your content by understanding the customer mindset in each of these channels can help in the forming of long term engagement and loyalty, as well as recall. And remember less is more!

Website Design – How Consumer Experience Can Convert Visitors Into Customers

With social media and search marketing, both trending in the digital news, website design and consumer experience have taken a backseat in mind space. However, these are critical and a first step to getting your digital strategy right. And here is why.

Almost every client we have worked with since end-2004 when we first made our website, has wanted to hire our services because they liked what they saw on our website.

BCWebwiseoldhomepage

BC Web Wise Website launched in end 2004

In 2004 we had very little content that we could showcase as a portfolio. So we put up what we thought we were good at, ideas that looked good and could engage the audience as a part of our user experience design (UED). It worked. Anyone who visited the website instantly fell in love with the fish n cat animations that we had as a part of the UED.

So when we revamped our website in 2011, because our previous site could no longer hold all the content we had, we ensured that the endearing two – the Fish and the Cat continued to be the highlights.

What happened before we had our website?

The clients we acquired before we made our website, and these included India’s Top 500 companies: Hindustan Unilever (corporate), Yahoo on behalf of Pepsi, and ITC (Foods business) sent in their enquiry to us primarily because they saw the website for a few brands we had worked with at that time ‘Sunsilk’ (the avatar before Sunsilk Gang of Girls activation), Close Up and a few others.

Essentially what they saw online helped them decide that we could deliver the goods. Other than HUL, both ITC and Hero Motocorp did not even call for a multi-agency pitch.

So what is the point we are making here? The impact that your website can make with your audience via your website is significant and can be decisive for a visitor.

Convert Visitors Into Customers

  • Fortune Cooking Oil

    UED for Fortune Cooking Oil

    If you are a B2C company, then the visual impact, information dissemination, positioning statement, and windows for engagement that you provide for your audience can completely influence the choice they make at the store shelf where your brand hobnobs with competing brands. Adding rich media content, contextual content, using intuitive information architecture, doing usability tests with the actual consumer are all steps to getting your consumer experience right.

SSA Solutions Consumer Experience Design

Website Design – Management Consultancy SSA Solutions

  • For a B2B company, the impact you make on the website with visuals, information dissemination, positioning statement, can be further enhanced with customer testimonials, case studies, etc. These can actually help your customer make their selection. They may decide to not even call in a multi-vendor bid. If they have to as a process, influencers can create considerable buzz within their company’s evaluation team based on what they have already seen demonstrated about you on your website.
Farelabs Website

UED – Food Analysis & Research Firm – Farelabs

Your Website Is Your Showroom

Window Dressing: One of the key triggers that makes you decide on whether to enter a showroom or not, or choose from an array of showrooms one next to each other is what you can see from outside the store. If the store is not welcoming from the outside, however incredible its products may be, the likelihood of you having entered it is negligible. Exactly the same principles applies for the first landing page of your website.

Vardenchi Custom Motorcycles

Website Design for Custom Bikes Maker Vardenchi

Trained Sales Force: You are comfortable in a store where the sales staff treats you in the ‘contextually’ appropriate fashion. They are there but don’t overwhelm you with their help and assistance, or they are there presenting one engagement ring after the other, and may be much more then you asked for because you want to be showered with the attention at this point in time. Similar contextual information dissemination and engagement windows need to be built on your brand or corporate website.

BBC's Website for India Sales

BBC’s Website for Advertisers in India

Product Showcase: If its games that kids love, then highlight these with brand placement in them. If it is hair styling then give rich media content they won’t find anywhere else. And if it is just statistics that work, then forget the imagery, and give them the facts, present it with tasteful copy. In other words if you are a company all about services that do not involve a product photograph, explore the key USPs that you can highlight creatively: Team, Offices, Clients, Certifications, etc.

So in the race to address the multiple channels of the digital domain do not forget your website design, and the criticality of consumer experience. Planned consumer experience can help turn your domain into the most cost effective marketing and sales vehicle.

Adobe_Award_bcwebwise

Adobe Award

About BC Web Wise & Consumer Experience: In early 2011, Adobe recognized BC Web Wise and awarded us with a beautiful trophy for ‘Excellence in Creating Consumer Experiences’. The other three companies that they awarded with us, were TCS, Infosys and Cognizant. Getting awarded along with organizations that are multi billion dollar companies was the highest honor that we could get, and is one of the most cherished awards we have ever got.