As a good chunk of the internet is finally starting to switch to responsive websites, let’s put another nail in the unresponsive website design coffin. For social media, consistency between mobile devices and desktops is imperative.
Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest can send a good measure of traffic to websites, particularly if appropriate campaigns are being run on them. Creating landing pages that are “social-appropriate” can be a challenge when there are two variations of a website running, which is the case with adaptive websites that present different pages for the same URL depending on the device through which they’re called. If the goal is to send traffic to the website through social media, responsive is an ideal solution.
Earlier this week I wrote a controversial piece about responsive website design that brought the ire of professionals within my industry and a flood of emails calling me all sorts of names. Yes, there were those who agreed as well, but they were the minority.
In retrospect, I sold out. I looked at the data, saw how responsive websites were not performing very well on mobile devices in industries that were heavy on data, and came to the conclusion that adaptive was a better solution for some. I stand by that statement based upon practicality, but there’s an addendum to that answer: if you want to do the absolute best practice possible, it would be to build your website from mobile up rather than from PC down.
It’s always easier to make a site more complex than to simplify it. Adding features is simply easier than taking them away. If you build your websites with the following three ideas in mind, you have the greatest chance for success:
Mobile is huge and getting huger. Assume that your website will be accessed as much if not more on mobile devices in the near future than on big screens.
People love mobile designs because they’re used to them. If a website displayed on a PC operates much the same as it would on a mobile device, it will perform better. That’s not to say that you need to sacrifice design or make your website look amateur on a big screen, but strive to make it “mobilesque”.
Touchscreen functionality and the art of scrolling rather than clicking is becoming more of a “thing” for desktop websites. Keep that in mind when you build pages.
If you take into account how your website will load, operate, and perform on mobile devices and build up from there, you will find that your overall website performance will improve. The problem with responsive websites in some industries is that they cram as much as they can to fill out the big screen and then it looks terrible and performs poorly on the small screen. Work from the small screen up and the website will do better regardless of the device.
We are seeing the “Facebookification” of Twitter happening before our eyes. No longer will we see a nice, minimized feed of Tweets presented to us on our smartphones or computers with several Tweets lining top to bottom on the screen. We’ll see pictures, ads, and videos taking up more space by themselves than three Tweets presented the old way.
We will see Facebook. Rather than comment, we will be able to reply. Rather than share, we will be able to retweet. Rather than like, we’ll be able to favorite. These are not new interactions that you can have with your Twitter feed – they’ve been available all along. The difference is that now they’re present in the stream under each new post, just like Facebook.
Any change like this will have good and bad associated with it. The good is that some, particularly those who have a properly vetted and tightly pruned list of people they follow, may find that this change makes it easier to experience Twitter, particularly on a smartphone. The need to push the little picture link in the Tweet has been replaced by the need to scroll further to see more. The need to open up a Tweet in order to interact with it has been put inline within the feed, again making for fewer Tweets per screen but an easier path to engagement.
The bad is that this will utterly destroy the Twitter feeds of anyone with a poor list of accounts they follow. Businesses are going to fall into a trap thanks to this new expansive Twitter feed. It’s possible that things you would never want to see on Twitter are now exposed rather than hidden safely behind the wall of a necessary click.
Overall, this is a great move from Twitter’s perspective pre-IPO. They will be catering now to the people checking out the service for the first time before investing rather than the experienced Twitter user who knows how to play the game. It makes sense – the old users will adapt and the new users will be able to figure it all out more easily. If they’ve been on Facebook, they’ll probably recognize many of the functionalities that are now common between the two networks.
Now, about that business trap…
Don’t Flood the System
I’m already starting to see it. Businesses and marketers are seeing things in their feed and realizing that they can get their visual message out to people more readily. They don’t have to click to see images, so why not put the messages in the images themselves, right?
Wrong. For some reason, the old ways of thinking with captive audience marketing have never been abandoned in free audience marketing. You can load people up with all of the ads and business messages that you want on television, print, or radio, but the moment you post something to social media that might turn the audience off, they can easily turn YOU off by unfollowing you. Some would say that the remote control and the car radio tuner have the same basic effect, but it’s not true. They might turn the channel during commercials, but they will likely return to the station and give you a second, third, fourth, or tenth chance to reach them with a different commercial later, but in social media, when they “change the channel” by turning you off, you will likely never have another opportunity to reach them.
Businesses, this is a tremendous opportunity to truly participate within the Twitter community in ways that have eluded you since the beginning, but that’s not a license to flood people’s feeds with material that won’t resonate with them. The example above isn’t that bad. It’s just an announcement that someone had joined the team, but it’s enough to make me want to unfollow them. No offense to the person who joined the team but I don’t want those things popping up on my smartphone.
Thankfully, I don’t follow those who blatantly spam all the time, but I’ve seen other feeds with marketing messages embedded into images that will clearly turn people off.
Twitter is in a constant state of flux and this latest change is going to be embraced by some, panned by others, but eventually accepted as the norm for all. We’ve transitioned from the click to the scroll as the general method for seeing more. It was described best in the best article I’ve ever read on Buzzfeed:
What this Twitter update does, in that context, is lower the barriers for interacting with tweets, which in turn reduces the threshold for sharing and for virality. It turns Twitter into a more unstable, interactive, sensitive, and potentially explosive ecosystem, a place where you feel like you at least have a chance of breaking through.
Meet Hang w/ – the first and only app where you can Hang w/ your favorite people in a live real-time video sent from one phone to many, from anywhere at anytime. Hang w/ features cutting-edge technology that empowers you to stream and broadcast live high-quality video.
Running a business takes large quantities of hard work and dedication to succeed. Sometimes it takes more than one company or group of people to make all ideas and goals a reality. The infographic below tells the story of a business decision that landed two companies with some pretty powerful success.
It all began with Hothead games, an award winning, independent game development studio whose main focus was on games of the mobile world. Of these mobile games were some iPhone App store favorites, such as “Big Win Soccer,” a sports game that skyrocketed to success after only two days.
Then, it was time to move Hothead Games’ data layer over to new hands in order for them to focus on development and better player experience. Along came Cloudant, the world’s first globally distributed data layer as a service for loading, storing, analyzing, and distributing application data. What followed over the next sixteen weeks was a multitude of success with Big Win Hockey and Big Win Baseball. Check out the infographic below presented by Cloudant to see the full story!
Steve Jobs was a man who could see into the future. He would change our lives through technology and eventually with the introduction of mobile internet. His many gadgets made us think in a different light when it came to the way we communicated, worked, and played. The boom made possible in social media was due to his extraordinary vision and commitment to changing the world we live in.
Chances are pretty strong that if you have a smartphone, tablet, or other device that is mobile-app-enabled, then your devices are loaded with apps. Some come with the devices. Most can be downloaded. Some are free. Some are not. Games are huge. The trends are clear.
This growing segment of eCommerce is embedding itself into our lives every day.
The attachment that social media has to entertainment is clear. We tweet the shows we watch, like the Facebook pages of movies we’re going to go see, and blast out or elation or rage on all social networks when our sports team wins or loses.
No sport or other form of entertainment has as big of a social media following as football. No, not American football, even though it’s pretty darn big as well. We’re talking about soccer. We’re talking about the little round ball that goes up and down the field trying to find its way into one goal or another.