5 Improvements Responsive Web Design Desperately Needs

Right now, responsive design is the cutting edge of what is possible for web developers.

While this is a big step forward in helping websites look good across multiple devices such as tablets and smartphones, unfortunately, most websites, particularly small business websites, all too often end up as essentially just digital brochures when they could be so much more.

Alan Keller presented The Future of Web Design: Smart sites for the multi-screen world at this year’s TFM&A exhibition.
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When: 25 – 26 February, 2015
Where: Olympia, London

When a small business has a website optimized for all devices, that’s great. We all live in a multi-screen world, and web content needs to appear perfectly no matter how it’s being viewed.  However, moving forward into the future, sites must do more than simply offer up basic information to customers; they have to actively drive conversion.

In a word, these coming websites need to be “smart.” Here are what we see as the five improvements that need to be made to responsive web design before we can all officially start using the term, “smart sites.”

1) An Engagement Layer

Smart sites will have business-driving features layered on top of their design. These will act as prominent calls-to-action, directing site visitors to engage with a small business’ website in a desired way. Want customers to find their way to your brick-and-mortar store? Simply create a one-click button that presents tablet or smartphone users with step-by-step directions from their geolocation. Want to push a certain promotion you’re running through eCommerce? Create a feature that sends a coupon directly to a user’s phone instantly (opt-in, of course).

2) Right Content For The Right Screen

On different screens, people have different needs. The full “About” section of your website might not need to be shown on a smartphone. For more complex tasks, your customers generally still use desktop computers, so it makes sense that this version of your site would be more information heavy. Smart sites also must conform to the capabilities of the device on which it’s being accessed. A Click-to-Call button definitely belongs on a smartphone, but does it really need to be on a desktop?

3) Reduced Development Time

One of the most daunting gates keeping responsive web design locked away from the masses is time. The time and complexity it takes to create a truly great responsive website means, for most SMBs, building the site themselves is out of the question. Paying a developer to do it still isn’t a great option either, as the investment of time remains a factor and keeps the cost high. As such, many SMBs simply ignore their website and leave it dusty and neglected.  Smart sites will cut development time by importing a business’ already existing web content from places like Facebook, Yelp, Google Places, etc., and eliminate the need for an SMB to become an expert digital marketer.

Illustration of screens showing responsive web design on pc, laptop, tablet and mobile

4) Aware Of What’s Happening

Beyond a common situation, such as using a smartphone, all customers are different. They have different needs and desires. Smart sites will be able to make the most of any given scenario. For example, a 60-year-old may need to have the font bumped up on a site they’re viewing via smartphone. If it’s later in the day, a user looking at a restaurant site may want to see the dinner specials right on the homepage, or if it is Sunday morning, the brunch menu instead. Smart sites will be able to account for these various situations and accommodate users accordingly.

5) Learn From Experience

Perhaps most importantly, smart sites will be able to optimize themselves based off of user interaction. This is what makes them truly intelligent. Say the customers of a small business continuously come back to one product – a smart site would place this product more prominently on the website, since it knows it’s a hot item. Based off of previous customer behavior, the site would also be able to run its own multivariate tests, such as experimenting with where the best place is for a button to increase conversion.

Free Download: The 2015 Ecommerce Trend ReportWP_ecommerce

A review of 2014 and what to expect in 2015

TFM&A Insights reached out to some of the keynotes from eCommerce Expo 2014 to ask for their opinions regarding all that has happened in 2014 and what they are anticipating on the horizon. Questions include:

  • What were the major events of 2014 to impact the ecommerce industry?
  • What are the major challenges that the industry faces?
  • Do you have any advice for businesses facing these challenges?
  • What do you expect the major trends and developments of 2015 to be?

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Alan Keller

Alan Keller

Chief Revenue Officer, Duda

Alan Keller is the Chief Revenue Officer of Duda and has helped the mobile-website building leader form strategic partnerships with Google, Yahoo!, GoDaddy, OpenTable and DreamHost. Formerly the Vice President of Business Development at VerticalResponse, he has over a decade of experience in building direct, channel sales and marketing teams. Keller has also spoken at prestigious marketing and technology conferences around the world, including Ad:Tech New York and San Francisco, DMA’s Annual Summit, SBA’s Annual Summit and the Dublin Web Summit in Ireland.

February 11, 2014

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