Mobile Society and Responsive Design

Mary Meeker, general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and known as the “Queen of the Net,” produces reports on internet trends, each one shedding a great deal of light on online behaviors. One of the resounding truths evident throughout her 88-slide presentation is that not only is digital use in everyday lives increasing, but mobile traffic is growing too. To share some examples, Meeker found that 29% of adults in the U.S. own a tablet or eReader, up from 2% in 2009. Globally, mobile online traffic accounts for 13% of all internet traffic, compared with 1% in 2009.

And it’s not just because we live in a technological world where users need mobile phones and other devices to produce work products and communicate with staff and constituents. Users want to use these devices. According to the “Queen,” in 2012, 48% of children in the U.S. wanted an iPad for Christmas, while 36% wanted a Mini, and this probably had nothing to do with the fact that these items are easier for Santa to carry (and hide).

Meeker paints a picture here, making it clear that content needs to be accessible online, but it also needs to be accessible on mobile devices. Mobile applications can offer a solution for organizations looking to tap into the digital world. But sometimes this option is not the most affordable, and sometimes organizations have content that is not optimized for mobile apps. Similarly it may be cost prohibitive for organizations to build a mobile site in addition to the site they already have.

For organizations with limited resources and a desire to connect with mobile users, consider a website redesign that incorporates responsive design. This type of website sits on the internet but can easily be viewed from both a smaller iPhone screen and from a regular computer screen. Fundraise.com is a simple example. You can view this link on a mobile device, or just play around with the width of your browser to see how the content responds. The Boston Globe works as an incredibly robust example with lots of content and several columns.

While responsive design is not the same as building a mobile website, it is a great solution for organizations looking to offer content across a variety of screen sizes.

Contact Elisabeth Crum, [email protected], for more information about what your organization can do with a responsive design site.

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