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Responsive Design Series: Part 2

By now you know the importance of ensuring your website is responsive. If you don’t, well, seize the moment!

Ah, if only it was as easy as the flip of a switch. Alas, it isn’t, so you must tend to the content of your website to ensure that once you’ve made it mobile responsive, the content fits the bill. Simply paying to have your website converted to responsive is a good first step, but it isn’t enough. Changing the framework is good, but that doesn’t mean all the content is automatically converted for you.

If you don’t take the necessary steps, many of which are conveniently outlined for you below in this little slice of Internet heaven, your bounce rate will increase significantly. We’ve all been there. You visit a website on your mobile device and it looks like somebody sat on a birthday cake – all mushed together, compressed and unappetizing.

Yuck.

So let’s start with the basic stuff.

First, off, the text size can change. True story. When you have your website converted to responsive, some big letters might show themselves. No need to panic, yet, it’s something you’ll want to take care of before too many eyes are on the prize (that’s your dynamite new mobile-friendly website).

Secondly, the amount of space between links is different. Yet again, another alteration that can be remedied but shouldn’t be left as is.

Thirdly – is that even a word?! – you’ll need to ensure that all the content on your website, as you see it on a desktop computer, fits across a mobile screen. In many cases it won’t, so you might need to find more efficient ways to say what you need to say. You know, say more with less. Lower the character count!

This is all pretty manageable stuff, but all items that need attention. Now, for word nerds, word lovers and word appreciators alike, the big question is… does the writing style still work?

Think about that for a second. The writing style used on a website that was designed with desktop computers in mind might be, well, “wordier.” It’s a website, so there’s plenty of room to say what you mean, right?

Well, sort of. But when considering a different environment, more specifically a mobile environment, then maybe that isn’t the case.

Say what you mean, yes, but on the web, it’s understood that the material presented will make for a quicker read than more traditional outlets. And when it comes to a mobile device – bearing in mind when and where people are visiting your website – the material should be written so it’s even more digestible.

But think about the mobile experience and the differences between someone on the move – someone looking for information while shopping at the mall or walking to their car – and someone surfing the Net on their lunch break. Big differences in what they are able to consume, right?

Remember, there are limits on what can be shown on a mobile site. There’s a balance of what can and can’t be used. That means you need to adjust the length of your content for mobile. You heard it a few paragraphs ago and you’ll hear it again: Say more with less. Pretty please.

You can’t just close your eyes and cut, though. You need to evaluate whether the content is still useful or valuable in this medium. Is it even worth presenting on your mobile site? Yet another important question to answer. You don’t want headlines or body copy that gets cut off, either, due to space limitations, so creating multiple forms of your copy will likely be needed.

Multiple forms isn’t as scary as it sounds, and this can also be needed for image sizes and crops, infographics and tables, and even demo videos.

Responsive design: It’s where you need to be. The right agency can get you there.

Mike Sullivan

VP + DIRECTOR OF CREATIVE SERVICES

"Sully" is the Vice President and Content Director at Saltwater. He's a total word nerd. Loves to spell, loves to use the dictionary - yup, he has a real, non-electronic one - and takes pride in copy editing the news ticker.