I have been doing responsive development for the past three years. I am very fortunate to have learned the best practices from my web development clients. Developing a product that is optimized for the largest number of users is the key to getting the greatest number of conversions. I am constantly reading and learning on how to achieve this. This is an ongoing process with the number of technologies and devices that are made available on the market.
What is responsive development:
Responsive development is optimizing the website for devices such as tablets or smart phones. The amount of space or “real estate” on these devices means that there is a need to change the layout for the user to be able to seamlessly interact with the site. This means the way a user sees the display on an iPhone will not be the same as how it is displayed on a 23” monitor.
Why is it important:
As more “non-traditional” devices become a part of our modern day society, we must adjust the user experience for these devices. Even as recently as a few years ago, the percentage of tablet and smart phone users were limited, enough to ignore these users as a negligible loss for conversions. Even Google has jumped onto the responsive bandwagon and is rewarding sites that have mobile versions with higher rankings.
Planning a responsive strategy:
The best plan for a responsive site will depend on a number of factors. Some good questions to ask before proceeding would be as follows.
- Is there an existing site that will need to be converted to responsive?
- Will the site flow be more difficult for the user on a smaller device such as an iPhone?
- What technologies are known to the developer or web master?
Once some of these questions are answered, it will be important to consult with a designer in order to get an idea on the best possible layout for each type of device. In addition, monitoring how the user interacts with the current site (if one exists) will be the key in determining the layout and process flow for a responsive web site build. This information can be obtained by reviewing the Google Analytics information if there is a current site. If this is a new build, some educated guesses will need to be made in order to determine how the user will interact with the site, based on their device.