Should your company have a mobile website?
In our first article, we discussed the amazing flexibility that responsive design offers. But this flexibility comes with a price that might negatively affect your fastest-growing audiences – mobile and tablet users. While offering a flexible layout, responsive design requires the latest browsers, more code, and large images. In short, responsive layouts can be bandwidth hogs and resource-intensive to render. This affects users on the move, where bandwidth is the scarcest, and where processors lack the raw power of their desktop predecessors.
With mobile smartphone use growing at such an astounding pace, I’m constantly amazed that there are still so many top-tier companies that do not have a dedicated mobile website experience. I believe that this rapid growth seems to be outpacing many IT and marketing executives’ ability to digest and grasp how mobile is going to drastically affect their business growth – particularly in the consumer space.
With mobile, the year 2012 will be a unique parallel to 1996-97, when many industry titans were caught with their pants down by the speed at which web use grew, and were unable to launch a compelling website faster than their competitors.
We all like to think other people use a website the same way we do; however, this simply isn’t true. Some people only scan or search sites, some dig deep into sections while others do both—everyone uses a site differently. These interactions are also affected by how usable your site is. People often think usability comes down to one thing—how easy your website is to navigate. But an often-overlooked aspect revolves around how easy it is for users to consume, interact or appreciate what you have to offer.
You might think video is an easy way to make your site more usable, especially since it has become increasingly easy to include on the web. But just putting video up on your site doesn’t automatically make it better or easier to use.
Whether for information or entertainment, commerce or connections, the goal of a website is to engage visitors. And when it comes to websites, content is king. Sure, design and usability are critically important, but without meaningful content, it’s unrealistic to expect people to engage with your site. You’ve got to deliver the “so what.”
I had the pleasure of speaking to the students at the Chicago Tech Academy (CTA) this past week about my career in design and preparing themselves for a future career in design or tech. The school was started two years ago with generous private sector funding from local organizations, including the Illinois Technology Association (ITA) and CompTIA along with support from businesses like Microsoft and Cisco. The goal of the school is to help prepare students for success in college and technology-rich careers through an immersion in the entrepreneurial and tech business communities. The program also includes a double helping of English and math courses and active community involvement from industry leaders in the form of internships and mentoring programs.
Well, not exactly live! DrupalCon 2011 has finally come to a close today—and I was too busy enjoying the keynotes, sessions and after-hours parties to update our blog about the happenings at this year’s event.
The conference was a great opportunity to see how the Drupal community has matured, how it continues to evolve as social media and mobile change and how we think about delivering content online. Dries Buytaert—the original creator and project lead for Drupal—kicked off the conference by discussing the future of Drupal and how the next version, Drupal 8, will be mark-up free so that it can serve data via XML or JSON as easily as it does HTML. This approach underscores the vision that content management systems must focus on delivering information to any device and any environment at any time.