Responsive websites have been around for a while, but that doesn’t mean that everyone has made the switch. Large websites, including booking systems and eCommerce are not always simple to convert over.
Larger websites often take user testing, planning and prototyping to ensure the customer journey and goals of the website are going to be fulfilled.
Most companies no longer need the hard-sell on converting to responsive, there are clear benefits to being accessible across any device.
Different devices need different approaches
Mobile and desktop users often need different information from your website. Depending on your industry, desktop use can often form part of the research or browsing phase whereas mobile is often accessed on the go; meaning certain information needs prioritising or displaying differently.
Creating a clear understanding of your sample users (often called Personas) and what they want from your site up front, really helps to keep all parties involved in the process focused on the end user.
Data is key
Before diving into a new website, its important to take a look at the stats you currently have on your website. Analytics are a strong driver to help identify pain-points, highlight user journeys and seek out improvements needed. All this data, along with trends and best practice, form a solid base for the structure of your new website.
Rather than lengthy scoping documents that can be heavy in technical speak, scoping out the new website is often done using prototypes, wireframes and UX. Using these tools allows us to explore and figure out what the best user experience is and how it is going to work for the end user. Alongside this, the prototype helps to create user flows and journeys quickly, without the need for a lengthy design process.
This is a very visual approach, which is hugely beneficial for those non-technical people on the project team.
If this step gets skipped and flat designs are created early on, it can often be hard for the client or end user to understand the movement of the new website. It can also confuse things and accidentally assume functionality that may not be there.
Working with wireframes/prototypes first allows our clients to see the project earlier, in stages and adjust requirements if necessary.
Most larger websites tend to be fairly complex - multiple departments, projects, events and news. Internally, there can be struggles to be seen as ‘fair to all’ but using your website data and prototypes really helps to simplify complex requirements and demonstrate the importance of weighting information for the user, not the internal teams.
Website projects tend to take longer these days - there is more to consider, different screen sizes, re-branding and designs to explore, expectations for interactions and a wide range of technical ability considerations for end users.
Once the site is built, it is important to spend time testing against your original, agreed specifications.
Websites do not need to be 100% perfect to go live, customer feedback and new browser releases will always have an impact.
Websites should be seen as an on-going fluid project, there will always be tweaks to be made, trends to keep up with and user feedback that needs addressing. Built with this in mind at the start, your new website can continue to evolve along with the times.
If your company is looking to move to a responsive website but you need help getting started, we can offer an on-site workshop to help you start planning the change.