This Isn't Your Father's Internet.
06 December 2017 | NORM MCCONKEY
With over 60% of all web traffic now mobile, is it time to prioritize your site design as mobile first, and desktop second? We think so. A responsive website is defined as one that will render differently depending on the device that a user is accessing it from. It’s not just about responsiveness, it’s about usability or UX as the marketing folks like to say.
A few years ago the goal was simply to make websites shrink to fit the screen of a mobile phone or tablet. If you have visited a site that is not responsive, you can immediately feel the frustration as a user when you need to find information by moving the viewing area back and forth. Google is actually quite helpful here. If you search on a mobile phone using Google, they typically don’t serve up pages like this to you, because it reflects poorly on them.
With a little bit of work, it’s easy enough to take an unresponsive site and simply shrink text and push information down so the user scrolls down to consume it. We can call this Responsive Level 1. In theory, you can now access the site to consume information. Google likes this better, so you begin to rank on the results page once again, but it has its issues.
- PDFs, they tend to be a pain
- Infographics and images become difficult to read
- Embedded videos are a pain because mobile browsers don’t like certain file formats
- Forms, a favorite of B2B sites for lead generation are a pain to fill out
You can tell websites that have been designed for desktops and pushed down to mobile sites. They feel like they are not made for mobile users. Think about how you consume information via a mobile phone. Would you read a 1500 word article on a mobile phone? Are you likely to navigate through multiple links to find information buried within a site? Not likely. The UX of a mobile user is much more about providing simple and easy navigation, and an ability to quickly access what they need. Let’s call that Responsiveness Level 2. Here are a couple of examples.
Example 1: What cartridge fits in this machine?
If you are an IT person and you are asked to order a supply (side note: IT folks HATE this job as it makes them feel like office chimpanzees). Nevertheless, if you are in front of a device that needs supplies, what would/should you do? Users would just as soon chew their own arm off than use the phone to call. If they search online from their mobile phone, they will not be taken to your site if it does not sell these products. Suppose it did, here’s a good experience from a mobile phone
I’d like to think that people would call a repair person. They might…but most IT folks know that technology is not worth repairing (sorry if that offends you, but I’m asking you to think like a 26 year old guy: they fix NOTHING!) You can have a repair option, but more helpful still would be a quick ability to decide what they need by clicking a few buttons.
We’ve all seen authors try to cash in on the millennial buyer, and how your tactics need to change if you are going to successfully market to them. Here are my two cents (since you asked). They are glued to their phones. Give them a reason to go to your site from their phone. They likely won’t respond well to a big long blog, with a call to action that involves filling out a form, so they can get a phone call from a salesperson, that wants to see them in person, next week, to perform a needs analysis. This isn’t your father’s Internet.
About the Author
Norm McConkey has been involved in the print, imaging, and software/tech business since 1993. Holding executive level positions in a number of emerging technology firms, he founded PrintFleet in 2003, and Tangent MTW in 2009. A founding member of the MPSA, an award winning author and presenter, Norm has spoken at various industry events around the world including the Lyra Imaging Symposium, Photizo confernece, ITEX Tradeshow, Regional BTA conferences, Remax Europe, and World Expo. He has been contracted to consult and build go to market and sales training programs with several OEM manufacturers such as Canon USA, and HP, and distributors such as Parts Now and Supplies Network, as well Resellers including Office Depot. Norm’s current project, MPSToolbox (www.mpstoolbox.com), is a software platform which helps technology dealers develop and maintain e-commerce websites.