Helping Clients Tell Their Stories Since 2001 | Let's Talk: SEND EMAIL
The Constant of Change
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
KNOCK KNOCK. WHO'S THERE? The Mobile World. Let Us In, or Else.... March 4th, 2015:
I knew this day was coming.
Been studying it for a couple years. Like a hum in the back of my head, it's always there. When my Brain runs out of things to noodle around, in those quiet moments of the day, or just as I fall asleep, this particular challenge pops up:
What are you going to do, how much are you going to tell your Clients about Mobile design, Glenda?
Each time I'm cornered by my mindful question, I probe the accumulating data I have gathered for the pathway out, like water finding its route: which way lies the answer? It's there somewhere, sitting on that wide shelf of knowledge in the Brain CPU that I've been collecting for this day! Or is it still illusive ? The perfect responsive design tool.
So...when the first email from Google arrived this winter...I did not want to answer. And then another arrived. One.. two... three in the in-box in one week. ....Ding.
DEVELOPING A SITE
Let me back up a bit. When building a website, one of the first decisions that You / the Client / Project Manager must make is Choice of Apparatus. How are we gonna build this thing ? Do you need e-commerce ?
A decade ago, the "nerds" called Coders, those folks who began writing Hyper Text Markup Language (html) in their infancy, were in control of content. That was back in a time when the feat of "building a website" was Amazing. Exotic. Expensive.
Then came the "tools" that let the Rest of Us in on the action. Early software (DreamWeaver and FrontPage) was still written by Coders (not marketers or designers) and it was expensive -- several hundreds of dollars expensive -- but this was a good start.
In 2005, lower-priced, user-friendly WYSIWYG (wissy-wig) software crossed my path. And I thought: Here was a tool that my clients could learn and afford. And since most were sole proprietors, small businesses and non-profits staffed with volunteers, this was a good thing.
WYSIWYG stands for What You See Is What You Get. Also called "drag and drop," it's an intuitive, front-end approach that allows the user to insert and position a photo, logo, headline and a page's call-to-action right there on the screen -- and that's pretty much how it looks online. No onerous procedure of menu selections and clunky boxed templates. Pure design with the coding behind the scenes; not even accessible to the user, which becomes an issue for advanced users. Still, there's no need to scan close lines of repetitive words and numbers. Just fold in some good content and design --somewhat in the fashion of early 20th century journalism print layout "cut and paste," only faster and less messy.
Today, FREE Drag-and-Drop online design tools are everywhere. Provide your info, create a password, and anyone with Internet access and that password can update your website from anywhere. Has its benefits, for sure. And free, well, yes....that's another chat.
Pay them a monthly fee and you can own a domain name (NOT wix.com/glendaswallace BUT glendaswallace.com).
--Depends on the project budget as to whether locking yourself into a monthly fee for site building software (and a domain you can get for $12/year) is a good idea. My goal is usually to save Client money, but I encourage owning your own domain, one that is keyword rich.
OPTING FOR ONE DESIGN ?
Now here's the next rub: Smart Phone screens are tiny: 3.5 to 5 inches wide. Tablets average 10 inches. And Personal Computer Desktop screens can be as big as a television. Maybe your PC monitor is your television! Point? It's hard to design a compelling Web World for that range of screens. One size does not fill all -- nor should it when you consider the price of data uploads.
Resolution Size / Design is central to my software search. It's been so since reading that Mobile Screens were the future Internet Search-Sales Highway.
And now the Search King Google is raising the toll for us Website Developers. They've addressed this emerging market and its need for Resolution-Size-Friendly Content by preferentially ranking Mobile Friendly Websites -- meaning your company's PC-sized content / layout must now seamlessly reduce nicely to a tiny screen, with fat finger-spaced navigation buttons, and no drop-down menus, Flash slideshows, or unviewable PDF files.
PC Users are not to notice a difference. But on your Smart Phone, the optimized site will grab top ranking. Google says it's building this protocol and will launch it April 21st, 2015.
THE HOPE OF RESPONSIVE DESIGN
So what to do ?
Countless businesses, non-profits and individuals -- some who don't want to invest in website redesign, (particularly if its business demographic is still PC driven and that, for the moment, remains the preferred way to research a topic online) will be affected by this change by Search Giant Google.
One solution to emerge a couple of years ago is hosting a separate Mobile-Friendly Designed website, such as www.m.glendawallace.com. Redirect code sent users to the mobile site automatically. Many businesses took this approach, and it works, but it also increases your website-maintenance workload.
A more promising solution has become Responsive Design. It uses site coding to resize pages for read on smaller phone / tablet screens. This lets your compelling Content line up in a vertical column. The User just scrolls down to consume and digest your site's info, rather than pinching and enlarging and swiping content.
This responsive design works. Cloud companies can attest, but what happens to design ? BANNER headlines on tiny screens become really big banners on PCs, filling your entire screen, displacing important content. And when you're paying for data/time, you want pertinent focused data. Content still remains KING, but consider him/her restricted to bite-sized meals.
For now, I've landed on new software that's user-friendly -- allowing the Website Designer to design for a range of screens without using coding. It's low cost and can be put on a Client's computer(s) once with back-up discs. And, it could be The TOOL that allows the Designer to disappear content when a Small-Screen User clicks on a landing page. In other words, I want the User to see needed elements for each screen size. Only research and time will tell. Drop me a line if you have a lead.]
"You've heard the adage Content is Kingwhen it comes to getting your website noticed on the Internet. Well, that's still true, so it's always a pleasure when you're working with a client that generates good content. The slideshow above includes some of our favorite posters created for Uncle Bill's Sausages Facebook page !" See more on Uncle Bill's Facebook page.
"I think it's fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we've ever created. They're tools of communication, they're tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user." Bill Gates, American business magnate, entrepreneur, investor, author, and philanthropist.
September Light - Image c) Glenda S Wallace all images copyrighted
INSIGHTS & OTHER THOUGHTS of Glenda S Wallace
"Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics." Victor Pinchuk, Ukranian businessman and philanthropist
Gold Line to Cinderella - Image c) Glenda S Wallace all images copyrighted