Responsive Design – Big Help For Mobile

Boston_Globe_responsive_websiteIn Wednesday’s post, we talked about how Google has removed the ability to segregate AdWords campaigns by device type.  Campaigns directing traffic to Web sites not mobile friendly will generally be a large waste of money.

Until recently, firms had to effectively build multiple Web sites to accommodate the different device types.  This meant significant up-front expense, and the added expense/challenges associated with ongoing maintenance.  By utilizing responsive design, the Web site effectively scales according to the device screen width.  These flexible grids automatically adjust and preserve the user experience.  This Blog is built in WordPress, which employs responsive design.  You can see how it works by performing the “squeeze test”.  Try dragging the right side of the browser window, and you will see that the content shrinks from 3 columns, to 2, and down to one (mobile friendly).  For a good overview on how this works – check out this fine presentation by John Polacek.  Give your Web site the “squeeze test”.  If your content is not adjusting to browser window width, this is an indication you are “screen size challenged”.

An example of a “mobile unfriendly” site I recently came across is the Field Museum in Chicago.  I love this Chicago museum, and I don’t want to pick on them specifically, but I have to admit their Web site is not mobile friendly.  You can check it out here.  Try it on a desktop, tablet, and a phone.  You will notice that it looks the same on each – just a different size on each.  This is NOT mobile friendly.  Think about the practical use of this.  Let’s say you are in the area and want to check out the museum hours.  If it is not quite easy to find, you are likely to skip the idea of visiting.

If you have any remaining doubt about the importance of mobile design – see this Google Survey.  Then it is time to get to work on it.