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Responsive Design is a Bandwagon You Want to Be On

| Blog | July 3, 2013

photo credit: johnpolacek.github.io

You’ve heard it before: responsive website designs are important. This message has been shared so many times online that it’s beginning to feel like nothing more than idle noise. Yet if you’re ignoring it, your bottom line is suffering. It doesn’t matter how effective your home page is or how perfect your marketing funnel is. If you don’t pay attention to responsive design, you are losing customers.

A look at the statistics

In 2013, experts expect 100 million tablets to be sold. By 2014, the number of tablets sold is trending to be more than the number of notebooks. Nielsen indicates that most U.S. mobile phone users have smartphones, not traditional phones. Mashable reports a 30 percent rate for traffic from mobile users, and they expect that to increase to 50 percent by the end of 2014. Yes, that’s a lot of numbers, but in the marketing field numbers are important. Those statistics indicate that your site is being accessed on screens of all shapes, sizes and resolutions.

On the surface this looks beneficial. The more screens available, the more people who are interacting with your site each moment. The problem lies in the fact that your site doesn’t render the same on the various sizes of screens. A smartphone can’t show the same amount of text and graphics that a 15-inch monitor can. If your web design isn’t responsive, those users using the tablet and smartphone, which is a growing number, can’t access it.

Users are using devices interchangeably

It’s no longer sufficient to try to guess which type of device your users are using the most, and then tailor your site to them. If you have a customer who has a laptop, tablet and smartphone, which is becoming commonplace, he’s going to try to access your site on all three. If it can’t adjust, he’s not going to switch to the screen you designed the site for. Instead, he’s going to become frustrated as he tries to swipe or zoom in to use his mobile device, and he just might go to your competitor.

Apps no longer are sufficient

Getting around this problem by creating an app for your mobile consumers may seem like the right solution, but it doesn’t work anymore. “There’s an app for that” worked as a slogan for Apple in 2010. This is 2013. Consumers no longer want to rely on apps for everything. They want to be able to go directly to your site and interact with it.

Your goal for your site is to get conversions. Adding an app to the mix is like putting a barrier in front of your customer, blocking them from making a purchase and preventing you from getting the conversion you desire. Don’t make it harder on your customer. Make your site responsive.

Responsive web design is no longer a nice feature to add to your site. It’s now a necessary part of your fundamental design. Without it, you’ll alienate potential customers and make interacting with you more difficult for existing customers. If your site isn’t responsive, make the change today before you lose more time and customers to your responsive competitor

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How Not to Lose A Website Visitor: Eight Steps to A Great User Experience

| Blog | February 4, 2013

Everyone’s seen them at some point or another–those websites that are so horribly designed that you can’t close them fast enough before they leave a lasting impression on your mind. Once your eyes have the chance to recover from overly bright flashing neon graphics or music that starts blaring over your speakers and startles your colleague out of his 4 p.m. sugar coma, you wonder how on earth someone can put something so tacky online as a way to represent their business.

These may be dramatic examples, but there are also millions of sites out there that are breaking vital design best practices and turning away visitors–and paying customers–with no hope for a second chance. An article at Business2Community reminds website owners that getting the customer’s attention is difficult enough—keeping it is even harder.

To make sure that your site doesn’t end up in the 2013 edition of Web Pages that Suck, take some time to do a review of your site and see how it stacks up.

Step 1: Make Navigation Simple- Sites that are intuitive and offer information that’s clearly laid out will keep your visitor’s attention. They’ll quickly find what they came for, and then have more time to browse your archives in search of other golden nuggets.

Step 2: De-clutter the Ads- Ads have their place on a website–after all, the bills gotta get paid–but by having them plastered all over your site, you tell your customer that you’re concerned about bringing in the Benjamins more than helping people. Limit ads to the sidebars and below the fold so that visitors are welcomed with your content, not someone else’s product.

Step 3: Organize Your Content- They probably had to search to find you; don’t make them do the same to find the content that they want. Make sure your “About” page is comprehensive and actually includes your contact info, which is the one thing that’s responsible for losing up to half of all sales.

Step 4: Keep Videos and Music Unobtrusive- Remember that some of your visitors will be stopping by while their kids are asleep or from an office where excessive noise is unwelcome. Ask permission to show visitors your latest video, and you’ll be surprised how many do want to see it—once they’ve grabbed their headphones.

Step 5: Limit Pop Ups- Don’t create barriers between you and your customers. Pop ups requesting registration are off-putting, whereas subtle calls to action with the promise of something “free” in exchange for access to their inbox, will get results.

Step 6: Create Interesting Content and User Experience- With every new visitor, you risk them being a one-time visitor, so give them a compelling reason to return. Include pictures with your blog posts, start a forum or make sure the comment section is lively to engage visitors.

Step 7: Use Legible Fonts- They wouldn’t write a white paper in a font that looks like their three-year-old’s handwriting, so why do some people use it for copy and blog posts? That’s a question for another day, but limit fonts to two or three different types that are all easy to read.

Step 8: Update Regularly- Search engines like sites that keep content fresh, so writing a weekly blog post will help your rankings, allowing you to be found by even more people.

So, even if your site is pleasing to the eyes, it’s worth taking a close look over it, using these eight steps as your guidelines. Make it a priority to fix any minor offenses, and if you find that the skills required to do so are above and beyond your technical abilities, it’s worth investing in a professional to redo your website design so that those hard-won visitors of yours aren’t put off by the design, but rather, are blown away by your amazing content and have an overwhelming urge to follow your call to action.

 

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