More than ever we access the internet with our tablets and smartphones. We rely on them to make dinner reservations, find out store hours and special offers, or book a night at a local bed and breakfast. You might be at a party discussing your favorite massage therapist, real estate agent or even your couples counselor. If you share that contact there is a good chance your friend will immediately click the link to their website. As a business owner, the worst thing is for your prospect to find a blank white screen on your site. This can happen if your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices.
A blank screen usually means the original site uses Flash. Flash was once the standard for creating animations on the web but it isn’t supported on the majority of mobile devices because of battery life. Animations that work on all devices should be created with newer technologies like HTML5.
Flash is a perfect example of how web technology is constantly evolving. Keeping up with those changes is a challenge. As a small business owner you want a web developer who is familiar with the latest technologies and “responsive” design.
Responsive design is much more than a website that loads quickly. A website built to be responsive will actually take into account the specific device you are using. Someone using a desktop or laptop computer will see all the images and get all the bells and whistles. On a tablet the website will shrink images, hide some of the graphic embellishments and present information more succinctly. On a smartphone the text size is often larger, the columns reduced to a single row, while navigation menus, phone numbers and directions are often moved to the very top for the fastest access.
Responsive web design is a premium service as the developer must effectively build 3 sites (desktop, table & mobile.) These 3 sites must then be tested on a wide range of browsers and devices. The additional cost is well worth it so your customers can quickly and easily interact with you on the go.
Published in the Jan/Feb issue of the GSDBA Community Connection.