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Responsive Design Will Save Us In The Near Future!

Can you guess what it involves? That's right... Mobile Devices! Look around you have you noticed how dependent people are on their mobile devices now? Next time you’re out, just take a moment to really observe how many people are using their mobile devices, to either check email or look something up on the web. How many times have you experienced someone saying, “How do I get there?” and a friend saying, “Hold on. I can look it up on my phone!” It’s the era of convenience and information at our fingertips. If you’re not catering to mobile users... you should be!

Accessibility is everything! It began with the introduction of the iPhone and has now just skyrocketed, allowing more and more people the ability to get online to access anything and everything they desire. With the introduction of the mobile phones, we have had to quickly adapt, and start designing "Mobile-First" (or try to anyway). Just a few years ago, it seemed that we needed to focus on designing for LARGER screen widths due to the PC monitor size increasing. Now, we have to worry about all of the varying sizes, from small cell phones, to iPads and desktops, kindles, smartphones and more. As you can probably guess, teenagers are completely reliant on their mobile devices and some can't imagine what it would be like without them. Make sure to read "Why Mobile Phone Addiction is Now on the Rehab Menu" . As business owners, we have to be looking forward, and realizing that our new clients will someday be of the younger generation.

As a business owner (and owner of your businesses website), it is your responsibility to provide the proper user experience for your website visitors. They expect a lot. Otherwise, it is the cause of attendance drop to your websites, and business in general. Knowing your user base, and the user base of tomorrow, will help you ensure that you're never obsolete. Those of the younger generation can't handle life without their cell phones. And their phones do it all... they are hard-wired for stimulation 24/7 and expect every website to hold their attention with everything from regular internet use, to apps like Facebook, Instagram and social media avenues. They tend to be the type who has a billion friends on Facebook, most of which they've never met or never hang out with. They differ tremendously from the generation-X and the baby-boomers. But that' is another topic in itself.

The Mobile Trend

YES! mobile users have doubled since this past year. DOUBLED! And with each new phone that comes out (which seems like it takes only a few months before another version of a particular phone comes out again) we find ourselves more enamored with the amount of stuff we can do on it NOW!

We need our clients to not only adapt to this "mobile" change, but we need to help them to evolve their sites and brand in the direction of this mobile trend to be better prepared for what's to come.

"And what is that?", you ask. OH MY... right now, we solely focus on our websites (as business owners). We assume that every person that wants to find us online, will do so by way of our website, in its rigid form. However, it has already begun that our websites are now, not enough. Our online user base has shifted toward mobile accessibility. Rather than losing them, we need to retain them. The only way to do that RIGHT NOW is to give them a pleasing experience on our website in a mobile version. This is either in the format of a separate mobile website, OR a sleek responsive website that adjusts the screen to the width of the mobile devices screen. In the future, however, this will not only be necessary, but it will be the foundation for even further necessities. All of these cell phones (iPhone, Androids and Microsoft phones) are currently using "native" apps. But this was a bit forced. It didn't start out this way. Now, we're looking at, in just a few years, shifting from native apps on these proprietary platforms to "WEB APPS" that are built on technologies like HTML5 and CSS3. Hint hint... this is what these responsive sites are already built in. These web apps are going to be much easier to build, more cost effective and will be produced at rapid speeds. Read more about this on the Mashable website "Why Web Apps Will Crush Native Apps".

High Hopes

It’s very important to us that we bring our clients along in this journey. Having a better equipped community of business owners ensures their survival and longevity in their industry. And with so much of our informational intake being electronically visual in todays' average American day-to-day, it's a necessity to make these changes now.

So, how do we keep up?

Having a website is your first step. It gives them a chance to find you. But that's not good enough on its own. You also need a design that will accommodate every user that visits it. That's where "Mobile First" technology and Responsive Design come in.

How many websites are mobile ready?

Yeah, not as many as you would like to believe! Most sites have been created to adapt to larger screen sizes, but since the mobile world has evolved, so must the websites. Your users are changing the way in which they find you! Don't disappointment them when they get there!

From 2012 to 2013, the traditional means of website traffic dropped, but mobile usage nearly doubled in both tablet and smartphone (from approx. 5.95% & 5.42% in 2012 to 10.58% & 10.44% in 2013 respectively). This means that more and more people are starting to utilize the more readily-available devices than the laptop/computers. In addition, it has been suggested that smartphones are more to browse or research rather than a buy platform. So this is geared towards the average website owner with little to no online purchasing involved.

This tells us that, as business owners, we are responsible for providing a positive user-experience to our customers and clients, in not only the traditional device widths but also in the mobile device widths. With this rising trend, it’s easy to foresee the mobile users skyrocketing within the next few years.

Responsive Design

Because the desktop users have built up the web to accommodate those specific devices, now many businesses are cramming their existing content onto the smaller screen sizes.

The iPhone, for example, automatically shrinks all of the content on a website down to fit its screen. While that is helpful, it’s not ideal. I don’t know about you, but I hate zooming in and scrolling back and forth to read something - or trying to click on the tiny links, failing and then having to zoom in again to get a larger link to click on. It’s almost exhausting, and frustrating. As you can see, this is not good user experience! It is up to us to reverse the trend of cramming the information into a small browser screen and EVOLVE to adapting our websites to offer a progressive enhancement to our website and it’s users and start thinking MOBILE FIRST. This means that we need to think about the mobile users experience first and foremost. Then we can move on to building out the site to appease larger widths and users.

The sooner we evolve and have a mobile-first mentality - creating websites that scale up, not down, the better prepared we will be for whatever lies ahead with this ever changing technology.

To learn more and see examples of different design types, including Responsive Design, check out our Design Types in the Services section.

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