Yes, When it comes to web design, what looks cool is not always cool. I recently saw a website that looked cool. It had a really cool slider on it that allowed for the content to shift around as it slid from one slide to the next, it had a great menu bar at the top that did some cool animation and a few other things. I then looked at it on my phone and half the site disappeared, or more now I had to toggle back and forth on my phone to see the rest of the site, now the really cool animated slider didn’t make any sense because I couldn’t see the whole thing on my phone. I tried reducing the size of my browser window and got the same thing on my computer. So, to some people that look at that site, they see this really cool website, but then other people look at it and it looks like crap.
What is the solution?
I am not saying you can’t have a cool website! I am saying if your website looks cool to one person, it should look cool to all. Who is to say that all of your potential customers are using one specific kind of computer or screen size? So, what is the solution? This little word I have been tossing around for a while now. Responsive! So, let’s run a scenario in the real world. So, 2,000,000 people move into OKC (well, maybe not 100% real world) the highway system that we have would not work for that many new people. So in response to the situation the city widens the highways, adds more transportation alternatives and invents flying cars for the added traffic. This is an example of being responsive. There is a problem, and they find a solution to this problem. So, let’s bring this back to the marketing world. Your website is setup to look really cool on a computer monitor. But there are millions of people searching for your phone on their phones, or tablets, etc. The question is, are you going to respond to the demand, or are you going to let everyone else? In the example, if OKC didn’t respond, Everyone would move to Dallas, where they are saying, “Hey, we will meet your needs”.
2 schools of thought
1. Responding by redirecting.
For the last several years the most popular way of catering the the mobile demand has been the mobile detection method. In essence you build 2 website, one that is for computers, and one that is for mobile devices. You can share the content between the 2, but you have an initial cost of 2 complete websites. The other dilemma here is that if someone looks at your site on their phone, typically they will at some point look it up in more details on their computer. If your 2 sites don’t look the same, your potential client is spent searching around to figure out if this is the same place. You have 9 seconds to grab your browsers attention and if they are busy trying to decipher the difference, you have just lost them.
2. True Responsive design
In the last year or so we have seen a growth in this school of thought. The idea is that as the screen size get’s smaller, the site adjusts to fit the screen. This is especially handy when you consider how many different screen sizes are out there. The format of the site stays the same, however if some elements are side by side, the one to the right drops below the one to the left, so our brain still sees it in the same order. This type of design takes some planning as you have to make sure that the elements line up no matter what the screen size is. But, the final product is a cool fluid website that keeps the overall branding the same throughout. This is what I do.