In the latest instalment in his monthly series, Fetch managing director James Connelly looks at some of the best mobile optimised sites and responsive designs around the world to highlight the importance of putting user journey first to create a positive impression over mobile.
We are in an era of connected consumers and devices, where it is no longer sensible for brands to consider their presence on one device and not the rest. The trick to securing an excellent cross-device presence is nailing the user experience. It is not about fitting your brand to a particular screen size; rather it’s about serving customers accordingly in each device environment. To achieve this, brands need to have a clear grasp of how and where customers interact with the brand - known as a user journey - and effectively translating that online for all devices and ecosystems.
Likewise, the choice of how to achieve a positive mobile presence also depends on the type of user journey a brand wants to build. Responsive design has recently become a very popular choice, as it is excellent for cross-device consistency. However, it is not necessarily the best option for all brands. Vice versa, a mobile-specific design set apart from a brand's desktop version may seem like an inconsistent option for some brands, but for others it can help to maximise value from mobile through tailored user journeys.
Here are three excellent recent examples of both responsive design and mobile-specific optimised sites:
Never Under Dressed
As the UK's first digital fashion glossy, the team at Never Under Dressed have created a web design as stylish as their content. With striking colours and very clear calls to action, the content and image heavy site manages to maintain an impressive degree of simplicity that makes it extremely easy and interesting to navigate.
Content discovery is high up on the priority list of what users want out of a digital glossy, and Never Under Dressed’s responsive design does a great job at leveraging mobile to deliver an exciting user journey. The Style Selector, for instance, takes advantage of easy calls to action that stylishly translate well across devices.
And the best feature? The beautifully designed 'Back to Top' hover button that sits modestly at the bottom right hand corner. Words do not do this responsive design justice – get online and experience it for yourself.
The Boston Globe
Given that most news is now consumed over smartphones, it makes complete sense for The Boston Globe to go for a responsive design that delivers the same broadsheet style across devices. Try it on your desktop, tablet and smartphone, and then do the same for other major news sites in the UK or the US.
What you will see is that many have mobile versions in the same style as their desktop site, but very few have actually achieved the same level of consistency in content presentation and sense of cleanliness across all screens. You’ll also notice and appreciate the little details, such as how the 'Make a comment' and 'Share' calls to actions drop down in the mobile version.
The H&M mobile site is a really good example of how a stylistically consistent but custom-tailored design for mobile works really well. The customer user journey for browsing items for purchase is very unique and differs from content serving sites without an ecommerce offering.
The ‘Inspiration’ section of the mobile optimised site offers an excellent swiping view that leads users to Pinterest-esque mood boards. The clear calls to action when purchasing the product also work to ensure users experience a smooth purchasing journey over mobile.