Today we have a guest post from Holly Krenek, the Event and Brand Manager at Affiniscape, Inc. where she focuses on social strategy and brand development. She has over 7 years of experience in social media, event management and interactive marketing.
“Day by day, the number of devices, platforms, and browsers that need to work with your site grows. Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift in how we’ll build websites for the decade to come.”- Jeffrey Veen
We can all easily say most of our friends, family and co-workers own a smartphone, iPad, laptop, or another portable device that gives us real-time access, 24/7, to information we need at the click of a button. We are becoming accustom to having exclusive access to information we desire at any given second and any place, especially while attending events.
Over the past few years, a new form of web design has proven to shape the traditional look and feel of how we view websites. Responsive web design, popularized by developer, Ethan Marcotte, has become the new IT blueprint for a mixed approach that covers all aspects of a multi-device world.
Having the ability to view sites we love on devices we own is not only an enjoyment, but a necessity today. Responsive websites respond to their environments. They contain a mixed approach – either a fixed width for larger and medium screens, or fluid widths for smaller screens. Responsive pulls content, images of all shapes and sizes, and one set of code that translates one time for all screen sizes. The pros when considering a responsive web design route are:
- Only having to manage one set of content across multiple devices, rather than customizing content for every device.
- Save on time and money by only designing one time, instead of developing separate sites.
- Design once and make it brilliant – then display your look and feel across a multi-device platform.
- Instead of outsourcing a developer or having someone on your staff for iOS or Android platform build an app, you can build a responsive site. (This will work well for you, IF your users are only looking to consume content, which is the case for most associations. For this use case, it will be more cost effective than building a native app).
A couple examples of event websites who have done responsive web design well are the IA Summit 2012 and Cisco London 2012. A few things to keep in mind when considering a reponsive web design approach are the following:
- Mobile devices are more streamlined, which means they tend to be more user friendly than the full 960 version.
- A few older devices will not support CSS3, causing slow or not proper loading.
- Start small – mobile may be the best fit for you depending on your use case, so don’t jump fully onto the responsive boat.
- Compared to a regular 960 site, responsive sites take longer to design and build. This will reflect the price of the site in most cases.
The goal of a responsive web design is to provide both the user and association with an integrated experience that is consistent across all multi-device platforms. Make sure you clearly understand what your members need before creating a responsive site. Keep in mind responsive web design always allows you to turn on and off content on your site for any device it appears on, guiding consumers easily to find the information they need on any device they may be on.