We Need to Look at Responsive Design and Mobile Differently
Differently? Absolutely! Why on earth would we want to do that? Let’s start with a small step backward and examine what we already know about responsive design and mobile. This will lay the groundwork of why we need to take a different perspective and revisit this relationship.
The What and Why of Responsive Design
The concept of responsive design is really quite simple. It allows a web property to render a similar user experience regardless of what platform is providing access from desktop to tablet to Smartphone. According to Pew Internet, 64% of American adults now have a Smartphone and in the last year alone, we have seen mobile search almost double in usage from roughly 30% to just over 60%. At some point, this will become the dominant way in which users experience the Internet. This is further evidenced by the power that has been placed with Google’s recently updated Mobile Search Algorithm. This algorithm gives search preference to sites that are rendered in responsive design and are mobile-friendly. Sites that have not been optimized for mobile will be penalized, and in some cases, become completely invisible in mobile search results.
So Mobile is Really Important to Healthcare Consumers?
The data for healthcare consumers and the way they are using mobile is quite compelling. 76% of potential patients are turning to medical websites for healthcare and provider information. An even more impactful statistic is the conversion rate of mobile users. 44% of those healthcare consumers went on to schedule an appointment. This fact alone points to the absolute importance of an engaging, mobile user experience.
So What Do We Need To Do Differently?
Since the very beginning of the web, we have developed content strategies and interfaces that have been rooted squarely around the desktop user. When this was the only access point to the web or the one used most frequently, the strategy made sense. This is no longer the case. More users are now taking to mobile devices as their dominant or only way to access the web. Even with the introduction of responsive design, we still looked to the desktop as our primary focus and worked to “scale it down” to fit mobile devices. The numbers tell us that we are going about this process backwards. In fact, with all digital communications, we need to focus on the mobile experience first and “scale it up” to the desktop. From you web properties to email communications, take a “mobile-first” stance in everything that you do. When you truly put the focus on the small screen and engaging with that user, you are being poised for success. Mobile is no longer something we need to adapt content and strategy for because it is the strategy! As you work to develop content, keep a few things in mind:
- How accessible is this content on a mobile device?
- Are the fonts large enough to be readable without the need to zoom?
- Are pictures, graphics, and videos formatted in a way in which they can be viewed in their entirety without the need to excessively scroll?
- Has the content been packaged into manageable sized “bites” for your consumer?
- How fast is the page load time?
- The longer it takes content to load, the greater the chance you visitor will leave and move on in their search.
- 47% of mobile healthcare consumers expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less and 40% will abandon a site that takes in excess of 3 seconds to load.
- Have you considered the user’s situation?
- “Emergency” and “Urgent” searches have much different needs than those simply performing informational searches. Plan your content strategy accordingly!
Mobile has become the dominant way in which healthcare consumers are accessing the web. It needs to be a primary determinant for developing content and is critical for the success of your organization. We can no longer afford to look at mobile as just “scaled down” content. This needs to be put front and center while truly guiding our overall digital strategy. Responsive design was a major move forward. Just be sure to key on the part that truly drives its power, mobile!