Multi-Platform Design & The Mobile Revolution
Do you remember what websites used to look like back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s? Neither do we! With the dawn of the mobile revolution, basic web design has evolved and businesses have had to adapt to these changes. The vast majority of the digital population, roughly 78%, is multi-platform now. This means that they access the internet from both desktop and mobile devices. This milestone is meaningful because it signifies how smart-phones and tablets are becoming, or have already become, our primary access point to getting online. For the longest time, the desktop computer was that vehicle. However, the convenience of being able to search, access, and communicate on-the-go, 24/7, with all of the world’s information at our fingertips, gives mobile devices a slight technological advantage over the fixed web. Knowing this, how can business owners transition and adapt to this changing landscape? It all starts with website design. A website can’t just be created for a single platform only anymore. It has to be mobile-friendly and responsive, and with the advent of touch screens, possibly interactive.
Why a Website Should not be Single-Platform Exclusive
There are still a lot of companies out there that utilize a fixed/single-platform website design. Some are still living in 90’s and have websites that sill use Flash, GIFS, or basic forms of HTML. These templates are antiquated and don’t provide the ideal user experience that people are looking for. Many might think you’re unprofessional and Google might even penalize you in the search rankings. With the majority of the digital population being multi-platform, building or keeping these old-school designs alienates those who only use one platform exclusively. This could hurt your business because your website is not being exposed on multiple mediums. With the competitive landscape in any industry continuously shifting, competitors may take advantage of your dilemma and make a push to take away some of your business. This helps to validate why you need a website that works for both mobile and desktop platforms. One that is visually appealing, up-to-date with quality content, which provides a simple navigable user interface that offers an excellent experience.
Responsive Web Design
This is the answer to all of your problems and is what most businesses are trying to build or transition towards. If you don’t know what it is, responsive design suggests that the development of a website should respond to the users behavior and environment, based on screen size, platform, and orientation. The practice utilizes a flexible and fluid template that adapts to whatever screen or platform you are viewing the website on. For example, if someone decided to search for your website on a phone or tablet, they would get a version of your main website that would adjust to their screen size and is specifically formatted for that type of device, including content, and imagery. Why wouldn’t you want to do this? You would get maximum exposure and be able to tap into that multi-platform demographic. Having a responsive website nowadays provides a visually pleasing user experience that exudes quality and professionalism, allowing you to jump ahead of the competition, therefore increasing your profit.
Interactive-Responsive Design: The Key to the Future
As I mentioned above, with the advent of touch screens, consumers are going to want to start interacting with their websites. This is where the future of web design is heading and it is right around the corner. Picture an interactive-responsive website version of http://www.nfl.com, where you could click on an image and be transported into that moment of a game from the player’s point of view. The Google Cultural Institute has been experimenting with this type premise (https://performingarts.withgoogle.com/en_us), allowing you to experience an opera or Shakespeare up close and personal. This type of website design could change the competitive landscape for many businesses. Imagine an interactive-responsive interface for an outdoor apparel or travel website. The possibilities are endless. Businesses are just starting to see the benefits of this form of website design and it could the most popular template in the coming years.
Advice To Business Owners
The biggest takeaways from this blog should be that 78% of the population is multi-platform, so it would be unwise to create a website for only one device. Old-school design are thing of the past and do not provide a great user interface or experience. Responsive web design is the most popular template right now allowing you reach both mobile and desktop users. Finally, an interactive-responsive website design is right around the corner and companies are starting to take notice. How will take advantage of these opportunities? The choice is yours!