Websites change, and how! It was just strings of random HTML code that now developed into a powerful medium that affects every industry on earth. First, the Internet became an information powerhouse. Then, it connected people and brought them closer than ever. It heralded technology growth in ways never conceived before.
ECommerce became the new path to do business (or at least add itself as a vibrant channel for existing businesses). Today, the mobile and tablet revolution changed the way consumers connect to the web, absorb information, interact with each other, and connect with brands that they love.
Your website is now one of the most important assets your business owns. For some business, it’s the only asset worth accounting for. Your website is no longer “nice to have”; it’s now “you’ll perish if you don’t have it and use it”. Running a business is virtually impossible without a website and a bevy of other tools that technology provides.
Since there’s always room to make changes to your website, what should be done in 2013(if you haven’t done it yet) for your website to give it a fresh lease of life? What can you do to make your website work for your business? How do you give it a new meaning? Here goes:
Responsive design is the future of the web
What can responsive design achieve? You need to only look at some famous examples to get an idea. Igor Faletski, CEO of Mobify, wrote a post on forbes.com on responsive design where he alludes to some great examples that hit the nail home: Sony.com, Disney.com, IndoChino.com’s eCommerce design, and even President Obama’s website which was developed for his re-election campaign.
Responsive web design is your answer for making your websites flexible, more accessible, and to create a better user experience. Responsive web design is your ticket to get more customers, retain them, and to serve them better. Responsive design, however, is not just about developing websites that fit on an iPhone or on an Android device; it’s always about user delight. It’s about making sure that your website works the way it should, irrespective of any device that consumers would like to connect from.
Unresponsive Websites are a pain on the mobile or Tablet screens
You have a website, of course. Perhaps you are looking to build one. The question is: are your customers or readers using laptops and desktops to access the web, and hence your website? Not so, anymore. More and more web users are using their mobile phones to access the web. The next time your website comes up on search results, chances are that your website visitors reached out to your website through their smartphones or tablets.
Your website then, built as it is, does not render well on a smartphone or tablet – there’s way too much on your actual website that a mobile user wouldn’t need. When they are on mobile, they are likely to be on the move or in a situation where they wouldn’t care about the ads that show up on your website.
An original, non-responsive website designs downloads as is on a mobile device if it’s not responsive. This would mean that mobile users have to squint their eyes (or use the pinch out feature on their touch screens to read content). It’s also impossible to leave comments on your blog, view your products (if you have an eCommerce store), and do one of the many things your visitors are used to doing online.
That explains the growing need for responsive design.
One responsive website will do (You can build apps too)
Of course, you don’t have to build separate websites for mobile and then another website for tablets. Although the screen sizes vary, one single website that’s powered by responsive design lets your website render itself appropriately depending on varying screen sizes today.
Further, you could also build native apps or HTML5 based applications for your customers to download. Apps necessitate more user engagement, activity, and hence more brand loyalty. Further, you enable easier transactions through custom-built apps for your business.
For instance, let’s assume you have a travel portal. Users can reach your URL on mobile and they would land on your responsive website which renders itself to mobile screen size. So, all the ads are gone, the text is larger and easier to read, the layout focuses more on content to allow users to get where they want to go fast, and the navigation remains minimalistic.
If, however, your customers want to book flights or accommodation on your mobile responsive website, they can. A better idea is to develop an app for such transactions since apps provide a much more branded and restricted environment while they are still hosted on the cloud. Apps also work even faster than mobile responsive designs.
Be where your customers are (Hint: they are on mobile)
Mobile users spend a maximum amount of their mobile and tablet time on social media. Chances are that your customers engage with their friends and extended networks on social media to ask questions, discuss their ideas, or simply state what’s on their mind.
When customers come visiting, they want to interact with you. They look for you on social media networks. Guess what? They don’t always do this on regular desktops and laptops. More and more people are now using their smartphones to do that.
Your customers are creating content on their own and it’s possible that they are discussing your brand itself or they could be talking about the specific category of products or services you deal with. To be there, you’ve to be responsive. Your website should work as a central hub through which you can track, respond, and analyze these conversations.
Further, your mobile responsive site should have “share” options so that you make it easier for them to share your content with others on their respective social media networks.
One look at this huge list of 29 New Inspiring responsive Designs from The Next Web (which is responsive too, by the way) should give you enough inspiration to make your own website accessible to hordes of users on the mobile web. When you can develop it for a much lower low cost today than it was possible earlier, why not?
How do you plan to dress up your website? Will you go responsive? If you already did, can you share your experiences with us? The comments section is all yours.