He gave the Boston Globe site as a good example of a site developed using responsive design, using “device-agnostic” design elements to deliver the richest user experience regardless of device.


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Calabro pointed out that the Boston Globe site is also a good example of how even an enterprise site with a large amount of constantly changing content can effectively use the principles of responsive design to provide an optimal user experience regardless of viewing device.

ROI on Responsive Design comes in part from a single team with a single code base.

Responsive design is based on the strategy of using only one codebase, one content platform and one URL to manage user experience across all devices.

Fiore explained that having a single URL provides enormous benefits from the perspective of analyzing and monitoring traffic and from achieving high SEO rankings. In addition, developing different sites for different applications requires different skillsets and codebases, which Fiore said becomes a “bear” to manage.

“Codebase should be important to you as a marketer,” commented Calabro. With device-specific codebases he said if a change needs to be made in messaging, it could involve going into each codebase and altering the code numerous times, as opposed to making the changes for all devices “in one clip.”

Responsive Design: The Methodology

Calabro emphasized that responsive design is not an added feature, but a methodology that begins with how teams are put together and requires constant changes and learning, and also does not involve creating device-specific sites.

“You can start with one breakpoint, but you can’t call that site responsive,” he said. In addition, he said companies can try to retrofit existing device-specific sites to the responsive methodology, but cannot start a new project by developing many device-specific sites and then going back to make them responsive. And responsive design does not totally eliminate the need for some native apps.

ROI and Your Mobile Strategy

During the webinar we looked at several ways a responsive design strategy offered significant return on investment.

Primary ROI factors include:

  • Enhanced SEO deriving from a single URL for content and services
  • Faster response times due to a single URL for all devices
  • Reduced development and change management complexity due to a single code base
  • Faster time to market due to a single code base and unified team
  • Faster iterations due to a single, integrated team sharing knowledge and skills across channels
  • More robust and engaging cross-channel experiences due to a unified planning and execution team structure

The concept of “mobile first” design is gaining traction throughout the world of content management, and Fiore said it is also the best concept for responsive design.

“We usually say it’s optimal to start at a mobile breakpoint first and get your prioritization of content right, and then progressively enhance for more features in the layout of content as you travel up in size,” he said. This helps developers determine what content is core and absolutely necessary at the outset of development.

“This does infer you have people working together upfront in a way they normally don’t,” said Calabro. “You’re getting a lot of minds in that room that understand the limitations of the system and understand the business together.” 

Getting Started: Is Mobile Really First?

To get started on responsive design, Calabro said companies should first identify which devices drive positive results. This may mean that some companies should not adopt a “mobile first” strategy.

The best advice is to analyze and set device/channel priorities, think about your content strategy upfront and organize a collaborative, integrated team that can work together on delivering intelligent customer experiences.

To obtain more details on any topics addressed by the speakers or during the audience Q&A session, check out the full webinar recording: