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By now you have likely heard of Responsive Design, an approach that enables a Web experience to optimize itself based on the screen size, platform and orientation of the user’s device. After careful valuation on a case-by-case basis, many of the major website redesign projects we have initiated in the last year have leveraged responsive design as it provided the best alignment with client/user needs and budget. Apparently we are not alone. During recent conversations with industry analysts we confirmed that over half of new website redesign projects are done using responsive design, and more major brands are jumping on board every day. If this is new to you, Google has a great high-level article that provides a primer on the subject, along with a chart to help determine whether responsive design may be right for you. While it all sounds good on paper, how do you approach responsive design if you don’t have a major site makeover on the horizon? And how do you get some insight and experience in this area?  The good news is that there are plenty of ways to dip you toes into the water without making a major investment:
  1. Initiate discussions with your key digital partners.  A good launch point would be to speak with all of your key digital partners to understand their approaches and solutions to responsive design.  Talk to your CMS partner, your email partner, content partners, your agency and other key digital solution providers about how they are leveraging responsive design in their solutions and how you can take advantage of it.  In the CMS world, Adobe, with its coming Edge Reflow design tool, is one provider that is aggressively improving its solutions to incorporate responsive design.
  2. Start with a small piece of your digital ecosystem.  Responsive design doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Great places to learn while creating better experiences for your mobile customers include microsites, landing pages, blogs and key pages or sections of your website such as the homepage or contact page. Microsoft recently followed this approach with the launch of a responsive design home page, with plans to roll out the technology over time across its entire site.
  3. Consider a responsive design mobile-only site:  There's an amazing difference in real estate on smartphones, from the original iPhone's 320x480 to the Galaxy Note 2's 1280x800. Switching between landscape and vertical orientations also makes a big difference. Consider building a mobile-only site that uses responsive design to optimize your layouts in this huge channel.
  4. Responsive design email templates:  With a large percentage of email being opened on mobile devices these days, experimenting with responsive email templates is a natural. Here is a good primer on how to get started.
  5. Responsive design ads: If you’re looking to experiment with online marketing, leveraging responsive design as part of your next online advertising campaign is another low barrier entry point for learning.  The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has put together a great report on utilizing responsive creative design, defined as an “automated ad server process of optimizing the look and fit of an ad creative to the ad opportunity/screen/inventory available.”
Have you started experimenting with responsive design in small ways? What results have you realized to date? Do you have suggestions for other easy entry points? Please share your experiences and ideas below.