The world has changed significantly is terms of how people interact with technology in the course of a decade or so. Today, smartphones and tablets have replaced desktops and laptops as the primary mode of accessing the internet for the youth. With users digital footprint interspersed across PCs and mobile devices, brands face the challenge of delivering consistent experience across devices. Responsive web design is one of the ways for businesses to achieve that consistency.
A lot has been said and written about responsive web design. However, as companies have shifted the focus to it and striving to get it right, certain things need to be highlighted. One of them is the website content, which is often shadowed by emphasis on underlying functionality.
Here are three ways to optimize content in order to maximize the potential of a responsive website.
Define content hierarchy
The true purpose of responsive web design is to make website easily navigable across devices. While ensuing easy navigability is the task of the design and development team, the content team needs to decide the hierarchy of the content. There is significant difference between the display size of PCs and that of mobile phones and tablets. Therefore, ensuring that all the information that users expect to access up-front should be adjusted on the top section of the website.
Besides, there are certain actions that marketing, sales and other teams want to users to perform through various CTAs. So, a balance has to be struck between calls to actions and content. Users should not feel that the website only has options to redirect to other pages without providing significant information. Without prioritizing the content, responsive web design may rather yield reverse effect – discourage users to search for information though their mobile devices.
Break up content into concise information
As said, developing an intuitive interface may be the job of the design and development team, but the user-experience as a whole is not limited to the ease of use of the website. Content arrangement plays as much a role in user experience as UI functionality. In this age, users expect everything they want to access to be available upfront, and that is true to relevant information as well. That is why, the marketing and other teams related to content need to join their heads to come up with a content breakdown that presents information in a concise manner to users.
Even prioritized content will not yield the desired result if it is presented like a large slab of text. Finalizing content breakdown is therefore an iterative task, where the involved teams need to come up with the right mix of text, photos, videos, infographics, etc. and the test it with users in mind. Whatever seems repulsive or inappropriate has to be optimized through iterations. The final output should provide information with comprehensive text and relevant photos and videos in an easily-digestible manner
Breaking down different topics or sets of information vertically is an effective technique. This allows to users to go through the related content together on the same pages, and instead of scrolling up or down, they can simply flick the content sideways to access other content. This not only makes it easy for users to access the information they want, but also impresses upon them that the brand or company has done its bit to make things easier and simpler for them.
On-board all related teams for planning
As it must have become evident from the discussion above that developing a responsive website is not just a responsibility of the design and development team. Marketing and sales teams as well as the copy writing and content teams need to collaborate on ensure most effective responsive web design is achieved in the least number of iterations. However, for that to happen, inclusion of all the teams related to user interface and experience in the planning stage is essential. Random involvement of teams makes the task difficult and lengthens the turnaround time. On the contrary, when all the related teams are involved from the planning stage, the preferences of each team and the challenges for the design team can be discussed and sorted, and a feasible way to deal with it can be found.
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