As mobile continues its takeover, giving your audience the best possible online experience is more important than ever. On smartphones and tablets, you can go one of three ways: native apps, mobile sites, or responsive design. They all have their benefits, but over the past few years, one has emerged as the top choice of experts.
If it’s time to redesign your brand’s digital home, you should definitely be considering responsive design. In terms of time and cost efficiency, not to mention elegance, it’s hard to compete with a single site that works across all screens, literally responding to the size of any device – be it smartphone, tablet, or home computer. Not to mention that your website is often you "first impression" with potential customers and clients. If you don't appear to be mobile-ready it could be a strike against you, and second impressions are few and far between.
No matter what kind of brand you have, responsive works wonders for almost every type of business. Check out how these companies and organizations are using the technique for inspiration and to start off in the right direction.
Campaigns & Causes
If a mobile website takes more than 5 seconds to load, 74% of visitors will disappear before you know what hit you. That’s why it’s so important to have a simple site that loads immediately and presents basic but vital information in the most direct, clear way possible. Political campaigns and social causes are all about getting people on their side – responsive design makes it easy and appealing.
Nike’s Designed to Move campaign is a gorgeous example of how effective a minimally responsive site can be. The well thought out layout and organization means that content can be elaborate without becoming confusing, and that’s vital when your message is as important as Nike’s – in this case, getting adults and children to be physically active. Thanks to responsive design, that message is communicated loud and, more importantly, clear – no matter what device you’re on.
A responsive site is a great way to spotlight a product, whether it’s an accessory, beverage, car, movie, or even a physical destination. Shifting travel and tourism sites to responsive is a great move, especially since you never know where your next user is coming from or how they’re accessing your site – today, most likely on mobile while stumbling through new surroundings.
Scandinavia is known for their great history in the field of design, so it’s no surprise that Stockholm’s official site is beautiful and functional. The northern capital is a stunning city, so it’s great that the website’s visuals load so seamlessly from screen to screen. Paired with great content, they definitely make for a persuasive reason to visit Stockholm, and revisit the site as well.
If you work in publishing, legibility is most likely a top priority. Responsive design ensures that no matter what screen you’re on, text appears in a sharp and fluid manner, making reading as easy as possible. Newspapers, magazines and digital publications have naturally begun making the shift, and the sooner they do so, the better.
The Boston Globe was among the first to make the transition, and their site stands as a stellar flagship example of responsive design. Layout conforms to content instead of vice versa, meaning every article remains in tact whether you’re looking at a three or single-column view. Nothing gets lost along the way, while important elements like major headlines and a search bar stay up top for easy access.
Not everyone can be the first, and the first isn’t necessarily best, but the Boston Globe still stands as a great reference point for other online publishers – whether they started offline or not.
When it comes to clothing, it’s no secret that certain luxury brands have been slow to accept the rise of digital. After all, the online world democratizes everything, while high fashion has still struggled to remain exclusive. The smarter labels, however, know that there’s no use resisting – and that they’re only hurting themselves the longer they do.
Tommy Hilfiger made the mobile optimization shift a couple of years ago. After spending six months of time and resources developing a mobile-specific site, the crew decided to switch gears and instead built up a responsive site in thirty days. Jared Blank, the brand’s vice president of e-commerce, figured that having to maintain multiple codebases was just too much – especially given the flexibility of responsive design.
“Responsive isn’t necessarily every single thing on your site,” Blank realized. “You can pick and choose what you display,” like a store locater and immediately shoppable items as the first things that greet a user when accessing the site from a smartphone. Now that's the kind of thing that boosts conversions. Well played, Tommy.
Some designers out there believe that all websites should be built responsive. That’s up to you, but one thing’s for sure: The sooner you address your plans for mobile, the better. Do yourself a favor and make mobile a priority, and while you’re at it, keep things simple. Go responsive.
By Anastasia Dyakovskaya, NewsCred Contributor