Learning Responsive Design: Focus on User Experience
Back in October, we shared a few ways to get started with responsive web design and development. Once you've completed your infrastructure and basic outline, it's time to focus on the user experience.
Most (if not all) website design should be focused on user experience, no matter if it's responsive. So here are some user-experience-focused steps to remember during the process of responsive web development.
- Ask your users, ask your sales team.
Sounds simple, but sometimes the obvious choice is the one we never remember. Since web development is about user experience, don't be afraid to reach out to some of your loyal customers and get their feedback. Remember not to limit their feedback options, but don't leave it too open-ended or else you'll receive too many options to process. Additionally, check with the sales department to discover the main questions they get from website visitors. This will probably give you insight into what your customers are looking for.
- Strategize about the intent of scaling down the site.
This should be done during the infrastructure outline stage, but it never hurts to go back and double-check what you decided. The two most important questions are "What are the pages that are most viewed on mobile devices" and "On what type of devices are these pages viewed?" Don't assume you know exactly what users want from a mobile version of your site. Perhaps they do just want the phone number and contact form, but maybe they're reading your blog and downloading content on their tablets. Use your analytics to get actual data to back up your theories.
- Consistently check your site on multiple devices.
This isn’t always easy if you don’t have an office full of random tablets and smart phones, but there's always the option of making a fun run to the nearest tech store! You can also explore sites like responsinator.com to help give you an idea. It's not perfect every time, but it's a good starting point. Remember, if most of your users are using a certain device width, you can always start with those dimensions and work forward; you don't have to design for every device out-of-the-gate.
- Be willing to make changes.
There's a reason why we stopped chiseling websites into stone tablets; they're meant to be fluid, ever-moving gateways for customers to businesses and businesses to customers. Keep the information flowing. Don't get stuck on a specific way of looking at something.
- Don't overlook social media platforms. Use your resources.
Much like asking your customers (and sales team) you should use the other resources your company has as well. Maybe it's your Facebook or Twitter page or LinkedIn group, but not all of your customers have to come through your site - keep your users engaged with your content.
Responsive website design and development should focus on user-experience. Hopefully these tips will help you keep in mind various ways to find out the experience users want from your site.
Had successful user engagement from a responsive design? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below!
Photo credit: Rev Stan
Maddie Weber is a Web Developer for Kuno Creative. She truly enjoys being creative, drinking lattes, focusing on user experience for website design and development, and writing haikus. You can connect with her on Twitter.