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Luxury furniture retailer Oka has become the latest ecommerce business to launch a responsive site.
For the uninitiated, responsive design is widely accepted as the future of web design as it involves deploying a site only once and using style sheets to reformat the content based primarily on screen width to fit the device.
This means that the same site is optimised for all different screen sizes, getting rid of the need to create a separate mobile site.
Responsive design is one of the hottest trends in web design at the moment as it’s seen as the most effective way of creating a consistent user experience across all devices.
For blogs that rely on social to promote their content it’s very important to have some sort of mobile optimised site as it’s inevitable that a large proportion of social referrals will come through mobile devices.
For small businesses or amateur bloggers a responsive WordPress theme is an excellent option as it allows the site owner to offer users a mobile experience without spending loads of money.
There are many responsive templates available either for free or for a very limited outlay, so I thought it would be useful to round up a few of the more impressive options.
Mobile email is a major challenge for businesses as studies have shown that as much as 50% of marketing messages are opened on mobile devices.
Obviously the precise figure varies drastically from company to company, so the need to optimise for mobile will be less important for some businesses.
But even so, it’s an issue that all businesses will have to deal with at some point in the next year or so.
One option for dealing with mobile email is responsive design, which uses one set of code that renders an email differently when viewed on a desktop, tablet or smartphone.
This means that the user experience is optimised regardless of where and when the recipient decides to open the email.
Responsive design is widely accepted to be the most effective way of accommodating the consumer shift towards mobile technologies, yet a new report from the IAB suggests that companies have been relatively slow on the up take.
Just 11% of the UK’s 100 highest spending advertisers currently use responsive design, including Nissan, Direct Line, Go Compare, Microsoft and Chanel.
Some sectors have been quicker on the uptake than others, but due to the small sample size it’s difficult to really drill down into the percentages.
And though the number of brands that have gone responsive remains quite low, the report also found that in August 2013 58% of the top 100 advertisers in 2012 had mobile optimised websites.
After being alerted to the fact that Virgin had just launched a new responsive website I was looking forward to testing out the UX of its flight booking process (because I’m a bit of a square).
So I was disappointed to discover that only the corporate site has gone responsive, while its travel brands have retained their old sites.
This inspired me to hunt around for other examples of responsive travel sites, the results of which can be seen below.
It’s worth noting that none of the main travel brands appear to have moved to responsive design, so its been left up to local tourist boards and boutique hotels to lead the charge.
Also, not all of these examples are well executed but they do at least highlight pitfalls that others should try to avoid.
For more information on this topic, read our other blog posts on ecommerce sites that have used responsive design and brands that increased conversion rates by going responsive.
This week, we’ve been singing the praises of Colston Hall’s new website (it’s a concert hall in Bristol, England).
We’re not going to gush any more, but we thought our readership might be interested to hear from agency and client, as to the process of redesign. What were the hopes, fears, successes, failures? How did the tender process go down? What happens next?
Every so often, whether you work in digital or not, one visits a website and gets a slap across the face. One dawdles for a moment, scrolling around and wondering how web design has come so far in such a short period of time.
Colston Hall is one of these websites. OK, it’s a fairly sizeable concert hall in Bristol, England, but still, it’s in the arts sector, this isn’t meant to be so slick, right?
Looking at comparable venues (e.g. York Barbican, Newcastle’s Metro Arena) Colston Hall is way ahead, it’s in the future. Other small and medium arts spaces are going to have to catch up, or miss out on maximising ticket sales.
It seems that more and more brands are jumping on the responsive email design bandwagon lately.
And rightly so, Litmus announced this month that mobile opens reached a record high of 47%! They are also predicting that mobile opens will reach over 50% by the end of the year.
One trend that I've also recently started to notice and something I can see becoming much more popular in the near future is tablet optimization. This is achieved with media queries that specifically target the screen sizes of tablet devices or larger smartphones.
The Expedia and Playstation emails below are particularly good examples of how this should be done.
We're also starting to see marketers use media queries to display mobile specific content. One example of this is showing an Apple app store / Google Play icon when you view the email on a smartphone. I expect to see more and more brands use this technique in a wide variety of ways in the near future.
So here are 10 of the best responsive email designs that I've seen in the last month.
Mulberry recently launched a new responsive ecommerce site that aimed to get one over on its competitors by recreating the luxury shopping experience online.
The developers were asked to focus on delivering comprehensive product information, useful imagery and a short, user-friendly checkout process that worked across all devices.
I reviewed the new site last month and overall I felt that Mulberry had achieved its aims and created an excellent ecommerce site that successfully fits within its luxury brand credentials without undermining the user experience.
To find out whether the brand itself was happy with the new site, I spoke to Mulberry Head of Online Charlotte O’Sullivan...
With responsive design riding a tidal wave of popularity and common sense, I can’t think of a sector better suited than air travel.
We’ve all been travelling to an airport, needing to check flight times, terminals, parking arrangements, delays etc. We know airport websites have this info, but we aren’t confident in navigating an old desktop site from our phones. Well, it seems Gatwick have smashed it out the park on this one.
This post isn’t going to go into too much detail about why the site is great. I’ll just post some annotated pictures of it, and encourage you to try it out for yourself.
There’s no denying that the tablet is more than a passing fad.
With tablet shipments expected to grow 58.7% in 2013, rising from 144.5m to reach 229.3m, and with 34% of the US population currently owning a tablet, it’s important for brands to approach the tablet design process in an entirely unique and different way than the smartphone and desktop.
Rather than being an extension of these channels, there’s a huge opportunity to turn the tablet into a unique channel for engagement, capable of delivering strong conversion and incremental revenue.
Every month more than 100,000 people visit Econsultancy using a mobile device, but we're yet to launch a responsive site. This isn’t because we don’t want to make the user experience better for mobile and tablet users. It’s simply that we’ve had to prioritise other things, and tech resources are limited.
It’s pretty straightforward to make a business case for mobile-friendly design if you have a transactional but non-responsive website: simply look at your conversion rates by device. They’ll probably be fairly woeful for tablets, and even worse for mobiles (certainly if ours are anything to go by). Add a dollop of simple maths and you’ll have some idea of the opportunity cost of not making the customer experience better for mobile and tablet users.
I first made the case for mobile about three years ago, when about 5% of people used a smartphone to access our website. That wasn’t enough to make it a high priority, but by the end of this year around 20% of visitors will be browsing via a mobile device. That changes things considerably, and more so as our visitor numbers continue to grow.
In our case I reckon we’re missing out on six figures worth of annual revenue, and as such we’re busy working away behind the scenes on a number of initiatives, including a fully responsive website.
I have yet to hear about a decline in conversion rates following the roll-out of a responsive site. In fact, I only ever hear amazing things.
So, if you're making a business case and need some examples then here are a bunch of companies that have benefited from significant uplift in the key metrics following the implementation of responsive design.