A responsive web site is designed to adapt its presentation of information to the users’ device portal. Responsive Web Design (RWD) is not a buzzword and it’s not even really optional, as it’s the current standard for web design if you even remotely care about user experience consistency and maximizing your chances of being found on the web. Responsive Design is the most efficient solution for developing your website to be future compatible and optimized for any device. But to really understand what responsive web design is, let’s take a step back and look at the problem it is solving, namely rapidly evolving technology on the web that includes many devices and many portal sizes and the fact that a user’s device and that same user’s purpose are no longer synonymous.
Let me first start by saying the UX Mobile Immersion Conference (@UX_Im) was by far the best conference I have ever been to. Focusing on user experience (UX) for mobile, this conference touched on everything from workflow, content and prototyping to coding, design and architecture. It was pretty eye opening to listen to speakers from all over the country, both from agencies like us here at Zion & Zion, and even some from the corporate world talk about UX from their personal points of view.
At&t did it. NBC did it. Even Apple did it. From major corporations to the little mom and pop, any post turn of the century rebranding meant a company needed to have a cool 3D bubbly logo and a website flooded with the same features. Flat was out, and gradients, beveled edges and a metal shine were all the rage. As every website introduced buttons, boxes, and logos with all of these same characteristics, a design standard soon emerged which was believed to be the keys to a modern and successful website. It was as if the user experience would have been compromised had the areas of interaction not appeared to be popping off the screen.
Do you remember where you were when Felix Baumgartner jumped out of space?  I remember exactly where I was – on the elliptical in 24 Hour Fitness, watching the seconds tick by, when it came on TV.  Watching this human body free-fall through space, at one point reaching 844 mph,  spinning out of control, listening to the experts say that if he wasn't able to get control soon, he was unlikely to survive, panning back to video of his mom -- obviously fearing for his life -- I was moved to tears.  It was the best piece of content I’d seen in a long time.  AND it made me forget I was working out.  Of course it was rather awkward when I realized I was in the gym, crying, but hell – that was an emotional four minutes and 19 seconds (the free fall)!   During that time, I couldn't help but notice that it was Red Bull who was responsible for this amazing PR stunt.  Immediately their slogan “Red Bull gives you wings” entered my mind.  The jump was, to the say the least, risky.  Can you imagine if he had died?  The outrage would have been explosive.  For Red Bull, though, it was worth the risk.  They received well over tens of millions of dollars in media exposure, contributed research to NASA, and associated their brand with the first human to break the sound barrier outside of a vehicle.  Talk about aspirational!
The day of one device web development is long gone and the challenge for multi-platform multi-device development has quickly begun. To help combat the constantly evolving industry, a new technology has been growing known as Responsive Web Design (RWD) that has revolutionized how we approach the development process.  Previous to RWD, we approached the problem of developing for multiple devices by creating multiple sets of code specific to each device such as mobile phones, tablets, and desktops. If we were to continue to use that same approach, it would be a maintenance nightmare because of the rapid expansion of new technologies. So how does RWD help?
Every day, over 1 billion searches are done on Google. In North America, the Google network reaches over 84% of internet users. Integrated within the results for most of those searches are pay-per-click advertisements. Imagine as a business, having the opportunity to reach that many people with advertisements. For any business wanting to increase their sales, awareness, business and number of returning customers, PPC is necessary. With PPC, an advertising campaign can be controlled, measured and tested all within a single service like Google AdWords or Bing Ads (formerly AdCenter). Both services allow for region targeting, positive and negative keywords, daily traffic measuring, and recommendations for better performance.
Since its launch in October 2010, Instagram has grown into one of the most popular social media platforms to date, quickly turning into a “must-have” for businesses of all calibers.  As of March 2014, Instagram announced record-breaking numbers, topping out at 150 million active monthly users. Out of those 150 million monthly users, 70% log in at least once a day. With those kinds of numbers, it was only a matter of time before businesses started taking notice. As an avid Instagrammer myself, for my personal account @kristi_bee, for my dogs (yes, my dogs have an Instagram) @bensonandlexi and for Zion & Zion @zionandzion, I have learned the do’s and don’ts of Instagram through research and trial & error. Perfecting the art of Instagram is certainly no easy task, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll wish you had been an active user all along!
Not too long ago, Content Management Systems (CMS), were a novelty around the web and not every developer was comfortable building websites that had this kind of functionality. Being able to edit or add content, images, videos and pages through a CMS was an “extra” for anyone who had the time and money for it. That is no longer the case. The web is growing exponentially through an infinite spectrum of web ready devices, making it enjoyable for everyone. Websites aren't static anymore, they are “web applications,” which means they do things; they’re social, and they communicate with their users. The bar is higher now for anyone building for the web and people expect more than just a static site with three pages and a contact form. Most importantly, they expect a way to easily maintain and expand their site without needing any experience with code.