Remember when we used to just access the web from just our desktops? Well, that time is over. We now access the web from multiple devices or platforms, including tablets, smartphones and more. So, if the screen resolutions are changing, shouldn’t the content you’re looking at change, too? Meet “responsive design.”

The premise behind responsive design is that no matter what device you’re accessing a web property from it remains optimized from a user experience (UX) and design perspective. Things like a simplified navigation, narrowing of text and hidden images can occur. You can see the benefit, rather than having to create 5 different websites for 5 different platforms. Responsive saves time, resources and money. A kind of ones size fits all approach.

Many people believe responsive design is just about reorganizing the content to fit the platform’s resolution. However, not only does the user have to be able to easily navigate and read the content, but it also has to serve up the content the user on that device needs most. For example, if I’m accessing content from a website, it is pretty easy to be able to search around and find the info I need. Hence why you can serve all the content you have. Now, if I’m on a smartphone, what content might I need most? Directions? Phone number? This kind of content should be considered and positioned to be accessible first with the other content at tier 2 and 3 navigational levels. We do a lot of this through user personas and map out usage scenarios, so we can determine what content will be most effective for each device.

A recent example of a major brand embracing the idea of responsive design is The Boston Globe. Go ahead and take a couple minutes to bring up on a couple different devices. As you can see, the navigation, text, images and more all shift priorities.

If you’re interested in learning more about responsive design, email us at engage (at) piehead (dot) com.