Inside the industry and inside the agency
So, you want a sparkly new website right? You want it to work on your desktop obviously. And the laptop you use at home. And it’d be great if it looked the same on the netbook you tap away at on the train. And you’ve just got one of those fancy tablet things as well, so it’ll need to work on that. Oh, and your mobile, naturally. Your TV has internet browsing? So does your games console...
As web designers and developers, we’re used to change. We’ve long had to worry about intangibles that few other mediums would for years. Variable window sizes, screen resolutions, user preferences are just a few. And please, nobody dare mention IE6. Every couple of years we experience a new paradigm of thinking – and we adapt. But even in this industry, things are moving fast, very fast.
Over in Las Vegas this week at the Consumer Electronics Show, dozens of devices have been proudly displayed to the world for the first time, from mobiles to tablets to televisions. Devices of all different sizes and many which can be viewed both landscape and portrait.
The rapid influx of new browsing devices means that we are now at a point where it is impractical, both financially and otherwise, to try and keep up.
Thankfully, there is an alternative to supporting each and every user agent by creating bespoke versions of each and every website.
Responsive design is perfectly suited to the multi-platform world that we now find ourselves in. Simply put, responsive design is flexible, device independent design for the web. Even more simply put, the web content that you’re viewing will adjust itself to the size of the screen you’re browsing on.
The primary appeal is to build a website which can look great on both your mobile and laptop, without having to create a mobile specific version. The size of the window is the key, not the device being used to view it. 10 years ago the notion of a 24” monitor being common place would have seemed almost unreal. Responsive design also allows us to go BIG. Banishing the ungainly white space which sits on either side of the web content and increasing the size of images and videos would dramatically change the user experience.
There are all sorts of clever tricks and tools that can be used by delivering media queries to enhance the user experience as well. On smaller screens or touch devices the ‘hit area’ of a link could be increased and typography can be spaced differently to improve legibility and much more.
Responsive design is a technical mixture of fluid layouts, flexible images and media queries. Tackled from a design perspective, more than ever, the way in which content could be viewed is of huge importance and the way that content translates from one device to another is crucial to the success of a project.
And for once, it really just might be about making the logo bigger.
Wickedweb have a lot of clients in the retail sector and so we keep a keen eye on the industry - in particular M-commerce as this is the topic we are being asked about regularly. With Mobile strategies coming to the fore, our focus has been on planning M-commerce initiatives for our clients, and so it was interesting to come across this article published on the Econsultancy website recently.
e-Digital Research has recently undertaken an M-Commerce benchmark study which uses mystery shopper surveys to assess the customer experience for websites viewed on smartphones. ASOS has come out top, narrowly beating M&S which will no doubt inspire other retailers to look at how effective their M-Commerce actually is.
Although it has been criticised in part, there is a key point to take away from e-Digital’s Research study: it is imperative that retailers are focusing on optimising their website for mobile as this is an area that continues to evolve rapidly. Wickedweb are advocates in implementing a usability study at the outset of a build for our retail clients, to consider how M-Commerce will be addressed and executed. It is essential that the design rendered on a smartphone is simple, along with the navigation. ASOS have scored highly on the product pages where information including price is clear.
It’s not good enough now to merely have an M-Commerce presence – the solution has to be carefully thought through and tested in order to provide the best possible user experience for the customer and ultimately the most hard hitting conversion rates for the retailer…
Wickedweb decided not to exhibit this year, but a few of us attended the event this week to uncover what's unravelling in the digital world.
Our quest was to uncover more about Mobile, as this is certainly an area that we are continually asked about by clients. And we weren't disappointed, as Mobile was definitely the word on everyone's lips.
There was a plethora of cutting edge Mobile technology suppliers to talk to, and the seminar on Tuesday around sharpening up your mobile strategy to maximise ROI was well received by us Wickedwebber's. It certainly gave us lots of food for thought, which we will be ploughing back into our brainstorming sessions for clients.
If you'd like to hear more about how we can help with your Mobile strategies then give us a call - 0207 183 4999
Answer: Yes! HTML5 is going to form the foundations of most websites within a few years, and most modern browsers including FireFox, Chrome, Safari and Opera already support it. Here is a cool demo of just some of what can be achieved without any plugins.
Previously visualization like this which play music, displays smooth animations, and hooks straight into Twitter, would've been something you'd have to build in Flash or Silverlight, requiring developers to know multiple languages, and viewers to download weighty plugins. Now it's possible to pull this off using just HTML5, which includes support for video and audio embedding, a canvas for scriptable animations and all kinds of other rich content that'll make current HTML based webpages look weak and bland in comparison.
Big names like YouTube are already looking at ditching their Flash player in preference of a full HTML5 offering, it's also fueling the fire heating up between Apple and Adobe over Flash on the iPhone. The latest models of the iPhone coming out will heavily feature HTML5, offering some great features for advertisers that you can check out here.
So grab the latest build of your favourite browser and have a look at what it can do. You'll be seeing a lot more of this before too long, so if your newest gadget's software supports it, consider it a worthwhile feature.
Contact us to discuss your digital requirements
Tel. +44 (0)20 7183 4999
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