You probably visit dozens or even hundreds of websites a day. If you do all of your surfing on an office desktop, it doesn’t much matter how the sites look on mobile devices. But that’s not how the world works anymore. Office life is becoming less about location and more about availability.
When you’re on the go, reading websites on a smartphone or tablet, trying to make the site legible can be a challenge. The normal techniques—rotating the device or trying to pinch and zoom—will only get you so far. With all the advances being made in mobile technology, there has got to be a better way to deal with this. Right?
There is, in fact, an elegant solution to viewing websites on mobile devices, but making the change is left in the hands of the individual website providers. Responsive design is used to build sites that detect the user’s screen size and adjust the layout to fit the device.
If you view a responsive design website on a smartphone, for example, the menu might be hidden unless you touch the navigation (usually three parallel horizontal lines). The website’s text will look bigger on the phone and the design could be considered finger-appropriate.
View the same site on a 30-inch desktop monitor and the menus will remain across the top of the page, where you’d expect them to be, as mouse-appropriate navigation tools. Text will seem right-sized for the screen and the reading experience will be better for users.
Your event attendees struggle with these issues when reading your event website on mobile devices, too, which is why it’s important that you work with a provider that offers responsive design sites. Attendees will want to view this information at your event, and as you may have noticed, fewer of them are toting along laptops in recent years.
Responsive design is important before and after your event, too. People are moving at full-tilt to keep up with their busy lives, and they just might use the 10-minute breather in the doctor’s waiting room to visit your event website and decide whether the content is compelling enough to make the trip this year. If they have to fight hard to read the text, they may decide to return to it when at their desks the next day. Which they’ll probably forget to do. Then pre-registration will close and they’ll put off coming to your event until next year, and you’ve lost a registration.
After the event, reading through abstracts and handouts from sessions they attended, and those they didn’t, and these may also be skimmed on the go. It’s worth a little consideration to make sure that your event website presents itself well on mobile devices.
Responsive design won’t solve all of your problems, of course, but it can give potential attendees a better experience with your site, which means a positive feeling about your association, and that’s worth quite a lot.