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The Guardian has today revamped its suite of mobile apps, which are built using responsive design so the Android and iOS versions run off the same backend systems.
Designed to better showcase the Guardian's range of editorial and interactive content, the apps are free to download and are instead funded by new, larger ad units.
From an editorial and UX point of view the new design is a huge step away from the traditional list or feed format that we’re used to seeing from news and content providers.
They use a card-based layout similar to the Guardian’s beta responsive site, which also puts more control back in the hands of editorial staff.
Tom Grinsted, Group Product Manager for Mobile and Devices, explained that the apps were designed to reflect the values that we expect from traditional media, so the size and position of stories denotes their relative importance.
I wrote a post recently looking at the pros and cons of adaptive web design (AWD), and the comments highlighted the confusion and crossover that exists between AWD and responsive design.
So, with help from some of the expert contributors to our Mobile Web Design and Development Best Practice Guide, let's try and clear this confusion up.
I've asked them for their definitions of AWD, where the confusion lies, and the best use cases for this approach.
A few years ago businesses could be forgiven for their failure to react quickly enough to the massive shift to mobile technologies, as it was difficult to predict just how big an impact smartphones would have on the customer journey.
However new research from Econsultancy and Adobe shows that even now many companies still haven’t implemented an effective mobile strategy.
In fact only a third of respondents (36%) agree that they have a mobile strategy compared to 45% who disagree.
The Finding the Path to Mobile Maturity Briefing provides data and insights for those wishing to benchmark their own activities around mobile, and to elevate the importance of related business initiatives within their organisations.
The report is based on a global survey of 600 client-side and agency marketers carried out in March and April 2014.
Here are three key findings:
Responsive design may be the more popular option for business right now, but that doesn't mean that alternative approaches like adaptive design shouldn't be considered.
Today sees the release of our Mobile Web Design and Development Best Practice Guide, which looks in detail at mobile site design and development.
This taster from the guide looks at the pros and cons of an adaptive web design...
Realism used to dominate digital design. Not any more. The world is flat.
At number one in Chris Lake’s 18 pivotal web design trends for 2014 is flat UI. For anyone new to the concept, here’s a brief introduction before we begin the cavalcade of smooth examples.
A third of the UK’s top 100 advertisers (36%) still don’t have mobile optimised sites, according to a new report from the IAB.
However there has been a slight improvement since the survey was last carried out six month ago, when it found that 42% of the top advertisers did not have a mobile web presence.
The new study also includes European advertisers as a benchmark, revealing that just over half (54%) of sites across Italy, Spain, Germany and France are now mobile ready.
The UK is also apparently leading the way when it comes to responsive design, which is seen as one of the most effective methods of delivering an effective multichannel user experience.
Around a quarter (24%) of the UK’s top advertisers have a responsive site, including Disney, Chanel, Sky and Sainsbury’s. However the latter has only used responsive design for its banking business, not for the corporate or groceries sites.
Responsive design has been a hot trend in the past couple of years, with plenty of brands adapting their websites for smartphone and tablet users. But here's the thing: responsive design should work for bigger screens too.
I have a 27 inch iMac with a 2560 x 1440 screen resolution, and not many sites make full use of my screen. It seems like a waste. The best responsive websites will be optimised for wider displays, as well as narrower ones.
It goes without saying that a growing proportion of your website's visitors will be using handheld devices with little screens, but you may be surprised by how many people use bigger screens. Certainly I was.
I thought I'd unearth a few examples of brands that are thinking big, as well as small. I shall kick things off by looking at our own stats, to prove the business case.
Happy Record Store Day everybody! It's my second favourite day of the year.
A day where I wake up at 4am to join the masses of other record collectors in the cold dawn with a bacon sandwich and thermos of tea in hand, to queue up for this year's limited batch of releases only available to independent record shops.
Record Store Day is an annual event designed to keep the physical record industry afloat, in particular the smaller labels, bands and independent stores that still hold vinyl close to their hearts.
Of course, this idea of vinyl being a ‘quaint affectation’ is far from the reality. British Phonographic Industry (BPI) revealed earlier in the year that vinyl sales are the highest they’ve been for 15 years. More than 780,000 vinyl albums were sold in 2013, this is a 101% increase on 2012 sales.
Major labels are getting in on the racket too. Titles this year include releases from One Direction and Katy Perry. Now you can be as sniffy as you like about these but I can't say the first singles I bought were any better and if it gets a new generation into record stores than that's all for the greater good as far as I’m concerned.
Last week I attended Sitecore Digital Trendspot 2014 and listened to the UK CEO of POSSIBLE, Justin Cooke, speak on how his agency helped transform the annual missive from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and more than doubled its expected reach.
As you are probably aware, Bill Gates has dedicated much of his recent life and indeed billions of dollars to philanthropy.
In 2000 The William H Gates Foundation was renamed The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and as of 2008 Gates has taken a full-time role co-chairing the charitable foundation.
By May 2013 Bill Gates had donated 28bn dollars to the foundation and yet is still currently the richest man on the planet with a personal fortune of $76bn.
The foundation’s aim is to tackle the world’s ‘toughest problems’. Extreme poverty and poor health in developing countries, and the failures of America’s education system.
One of the key methods of communication that the foundation uses is an annual letter, written by Bill Gates himself, in which he shares in a frank way the foundation’s goal, where progress is being made and where it is not.
Responsive design is still a hot topic, but it's slowly joining the mainstream that has become the mobile-first mantra of innovative companies.
With lots of new-build websites being responsive and many replatforms, too, there's plenty to review each quarter. Here I've picked out 12, mostly from March 2014 launches alone. They are from quite different sectors, some B2B and some B2C.
Take a look and hopefully it will inspire your own creative, possibly responsive, design efforts.
There’s a lot you can control about how people see, perceive and experience your online brand messages.
But one thing you have very little influence over is where they’ll be when they do so or what device they’ll be using.
I’ve written previously on the importance of basing your content strategy on user scenarios rather than personas; figuring out where your average user is going to be when they come across your website is just as important as working out who they are.
Responsive design is still one of the most popular topics on the Econsultancy blog, though among all our roundups one industry that we’ve neglected to cover is B2B.
It’s easy to see why publishers and B2C ecommerce stores might benefit from having a responsive site, as they need to cater for an ever-growing proportion of mobile traffic.
However if we’re happy to make sweeping generalisations, then it can be said that B2B companies are more likely to get a majority of their traffic during working hours when people are in front of a desktop, and also have a longer sales cycle so don’t need to worry about occasional impulse purchases from mobile users.