Future Friendly Websites

June 2, 2014
Ryan Zelazny

The internet is a rapidly evolving space, if you have been using the internet for the last 10 years you can probably attest with your own experience that the quality and variety of web sites being presented has greatly increased. For years designers and developers have had to modify the tools we had in order to produce work that we could be proud of, and now technology has come to a point where we’re able to work within a set of best practices and the things we can produce are things we could only imagine a few years ago. With these new tools and proper techniques, the world has thrown another curve ball at us however, and that’s the invention of “the mobile web”.

More and more people are adopting smart phones and tablets, all in different sizes and from different manufacturers using different technologies. This space is becoming ever more important, in fact it’s predicted that this year (2014) mobile devices will overtake desktop PC’s as the primary platform for internet usage. With that growing number of users not using a desktop PC to view their content, there’s an exceptionally low number of websites that actually designed to look and work properly on them, which is the exact opposite of user’s expectations.

According to a survey conducted by Tealeaf Technology 85% of online adults expect a mobile experience to be as good as or better than on a computer. More damaging than that expectation is the fallout from a bad experience, the survey continues to show the trends users take once they have a bad experience, nearly 4 in 5 users who experience problems with a mobile transaction share their experience with others, 40% of those share by social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Blogs, the other 60% share in person with friends and family. Most of you know how your business obtains a lot of its business, and word of mouth is probably a big one for you, so a statistic like that can be a frightful one. Even going further on the subject, 63% of all online adults would be less likely to do business with a company via any channel after having problems on a mobile device, and only 43% are likely to try again later on a computer while 12% go directly to a competitor.

There are solutions to these problems and that’s where we get to “Future Friendly” websites. We’ve seen an explosion in mobile devices since the release of the iPhone in 2007, each year we get new devices that have new capabilities and screen sizes and that’s why we believe there’s only one good solution to serving these device, a responsive design.

Websites with a responsive design find the width of the device trying to view them and adapt themselves to fit the rules that a designer has laid out, this allows us to send the same content to a device but change how it is laid out, so that someone viewing on their smart phone gets the same quality experience that as someone on their HDTV, desktop, laptop, or tablet, but is displayed in a way that compliments that device and the way that device is used.

Responsive designs however are not all created equally, this is because as I stated in earlier, it all has to do with rules the designer has laid out. There rules are called break points, and they determine when changes happen. For example a widescreen desktop monitor might have a width of 1920 pixels, and an iPhone one of 320. If your designer only decides to make breakpoints for those two widths, anything in between isn’t served properly. So that’s why a designer should take the proper time to analyze their design and see where exactly it should have a breakpoint and not just optimize for specific devices that are out now, because in a year there are going to be new devices with new width’s that won’t work with your content.

In order to keep your website from becoming a hindrance to your business rather than the asset it should be, you should seriously consider some type of mobile strategy and in Radial Notion's opinion as well as many leaders in the web including Google is that a responsive web design is the best solution to employ.

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