Health IS Technology Blog

Mobile Responsive Web Design Pt. 1


woman looking at mobile friendly website

Author, investor and businessman, Ben Horowitz has said, “The important thing about mobile is, everybody has a computer in their pocket. The implications of so many people connected to the Internet all the time from the standpoint of education is incredible”.

 

What Is Responsive Web Design?:

Mobile responsive web design is practically the keyword of the year for individuals and businesses alike that operate and navigate in the digital world.

Responsive web design (RWD) is, “An approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience across a wide range of devices” (Wikipedia, Dec. 2015). The goal of RWD is to make life easier for end-users that are creating reading, navigation, scrolling, etc. on everything from your standard desktop computers and tablets to the increasingly popular phablets and mobile phones. Imagine if we took a normal newspaper, shrunk it to size of your hand and asked you to read the tiny columns without adjusting anything for the smaller platform. Now imagine that we simply fixed everything, so that it’s easy to see and read the different stories, etc. That’s what mobile responsive web design can do for websites that are accessed via mobile phones.

One of the best resources for information on mobile responsive design, including various trends, tools and tactics for planning is a professional web developer or web designer. These are the specialists who help organizations to plan, build and adapt webpages so that they are useful for visitors. Here at USF Health Information Systems there is a wealth of such human resources. So I sat down with one of the newest additions to the Digital Innovations team, Gregory Moore, to get the scoop on mobile responsive web design in 2015.

 

Interview w/ Front End Developer at USF Health Information Systems, Gregory Moore:

Front End Developer Gregory Moore

Front End Developer Gregory Moore

  • What are some of the things pushing people into the mobile web space, today?
  • Moore: The fact that people’s personal experiences are starting to come, more and more from their mobile phones. Everybody has one and they’re using it because it’s there, its convenient. Also, the technology has become more democratized, in that you have people who don’t have to have a lot of money to have a really high-end web experience from their mobile phones and therefore it’s easy to just pop your phone out of your pocket and look something up.
  • What future trends, tools or techniques can we look out for?
  • Moore: Much more dynamic, personalized content. A low-end example of this is when you go to Amazon and they give you suggestions – you like this, so you might like these – those kind of programming algorithms in the background, might start happening for actual content, depending on where you are within a website.
  • What would you tell anyone who is thinking about bringing on designers and developers for a mobile responsive web project?
  • Moore: Content is king. The people who design and especially the people who program things have so many different avenues available to them that the only way to really hem them in and start personalizing is to have your content prepared. A good website comes about because the content is good.

 

Business Value in Mobile Responsive Design:

Google Developers recently reported, “In the USA, 94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones”.

Interestingly, “77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present” (Google Developers,  2015). It’s not difficult to see how this happens when you consider how amazing our phones are, today. They wake us in the morning, keep us connected on the job, provide instant entertainment and access to more information than most libraries can manage. It’s a mother, executive assistant, royal jester and veritable scholar rolled into a pocket-sized package. Furthermore, despite differences in age, income, etc. most of us probably have one nearby right now.

The world’s tech giants already have taken special notice of this and begun to adapt to support the growing mobile market. “On April 21, 2015, Google released a significant new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm designed to give a boost to mobile-friendly pages. We’re calling it mobilegeddon” (Search Engine Land, Feb. 2015). Essentially, this was Google’s way of letting everyone know that they’re moving in a mobile friendly and responsive direction, meaning that sites need to work just as well on desktop screens as they do on mobile screens.

Pew Research Center (Oct. 2014) Data:

% of smartphone owners who have used their phone to do the following in the last year

Pew Research Center (Oct. 2014)

Pew Research Center (Oct. 2014)

Mobile responsive design is critically important in order to reach people that search for information relevant to just about every avenue of daily life from business, politics and public health to education, the arts and beyond. Mobile responsiveness isn’t just about being able to maintain your presence in search results. It’s really about being a good host for your guests that visit you online. People choose to revisit places that are welcoming, comfortable and support their needs. In the context of the digital marketplace, that now includes a mobile responsive environment for students, clients, patients and guests or end-users of all varieties. In short, We “The digital publisher, developer, and designer should care because we want the visitors to any website to have the best experience possible, without forcing them to adapt themselves” (CopyBlogger, March 2013).

 

Check Out Our Previous Article,

BLE & Beacon Technology | The Digital Economy!

 

USF Health Information Systems is a comprehensive technology group serving the needs of the Academic Research and Clinical missions. We partner with our customers to deliver agile responsive technology solutions that drive business value and make life better for our students and patients. Dive in and learn more anytime, by exploring our site at health.usf.edu/is/. You can also call us at (813) 974-6288 or send an email to support@health.usf.edu, after hours.

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