Sound like a realistic scenario? Yes -- because we have all come to expect easy access to information through multiple devices. And this story plays out across nearly every B2C segment, from retail to health care to education.
To meet consumers’ expectations, brands must optimize their Web sites for multi-screen use to give their customers content when they want it, where they want it, and how they want it. Responsive Web design (RWD) is a Web design strategy aimed at creating sites that provide optimal viewing experiences -- i.e., easy reading and efficient navigation -- across a wide range of devices. But not all RWD sites are created equal.
While RWD is a great first step toward solving marketers’ challenge to efficiently engage consumers, marketers will soon find that the future of Web content marketing lies in approaches that combine RWD with server-side components (called RESS). RESS uses server-side components to detect the type of device accessing the Web site -- whether desktop, smartphone or tablet -- and deliver an optimal experience, from both a content and a site performance perspective.
The content optimization of RESS means that a marketer can create an adaptive experience where content is customized to both the size of the screen and the consumer’s behavior in a specific modality. For instance, going back to our museum scenario, marketers may design their Web site so that the museum description and newsletter are highlighted for tablet or PC viewing, while the museum’s address and phone number are front and center for mobile users.
Take the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston, for example. The ICA built an engaging, customized mobile site that delivers an optimized experience for smartphone visitors interested in efficiently consuming information about the museum’s daily programs, as well as quick facts like its address and a click-to-call button on the home page. And while background information and details on upcoming exhibits are less apparent on smartphones, they shine on tablets, where the modality is better suited to browsing and that call button isn’t needed.
Not only will consumers feel that they are being accommodated with the highly tailored customer experience, but marketers will reap the benefits as well. Marketers who use responsive Web sites with RESS are at an advantage because they are able to deliver faster Web site load times -- which is significant, considering that 25 percent of people abandon a Web page that takes more than four seconds to load. You see, while most traditional responsive Web sites use the same-sized assets (i.e., an image, script, or CSS file) across all devices (which can drastically increasing load times for smartphone and tablet users), RESS technology can detect the type of device accessing the Web site and optimize for load times accordingly. This functionality delivers an optimal user experience, thereby better engaging customers.
By implementing a RWD strategy using RESS technology, marketers can create Web sites that are easier to navigate and faster to load in a cost-effective way. With a greater level of control to target the right consumers with the right content, marketers can reap massive gains in lead generation and brand engagement. Knowing there are measurable results for both brand and consumer, it’s time to get on board with RWD and RESS to stay ahead of the curve in this ever-evolving multi-device world.