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Don’t Let Responsive Web Design Cut Into Customer Satisfaction

As someone in your organization who is tasked with creating customer loyalty and building strategies to increase customer satisfaction, the last thing you want is frustrated customers. Unfortunately, one of the hottest trends in website design – Responsive Website Design (RWD) – could be inadvertently hindering your marketing goals.

What is RWD and Its Impact on Customer Experience

RWD translates the user experience across desktops, tablets and smartphones, allowing web pages to automatically adjust according to the screen size of any device. Marketers focused solely on user engagement love responsive design for its flexibility.

 

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But, there is a hidden downside to it. Responsive design practices on mobile devices typically cram content into a smaller screen, which slows site speed and degrades the customer experience. A recent survey our company, Yottaa, conducted revealed that mobile users trying to access some of the top retail sites on a mobile device spend up to 16 seconds just waiting for a page to render. Mobile wait time can be disastrous for companies aiming to drive conversions; even just a one-second delay can reduce conversions by 7 percent, according to the Aberdeen Group.

Untamed RWD damages the mobile experience by dramatically increasing page load times and creating content glitches that detract customers. Marketers are left scratching their heads because responsive design was supposed to be the panacea for standardizing the user experience.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid some of the pitfalls of RWD.

Think mobile when designing and creating content

There are serious issues with page layout when organizations fail to plan their content grids for mobile devices. An optimized page layout will soon become dysfunctional if marketers and IT are not working together to think mobile first. For example, a call to enroll in a loyalty program that’s prominent when viewed on a desktop might become buried when scaled down on a smartphone. This kind of design blunder could cost you a number of new enrollees in your program. A good rule of thumb is to think about creating content and design for a smaller device first. Plus, it’s much easier to scale up when designing.

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Prioritize content depending on the user’s device

Talk to your web team about implementing application sequencing, a technical term  that means to prioritize web page content to deliver page elements such as the navigation and product details (text) first and rich media (i.e. HD videos and high-resolution photos) later.  Browsers simply follow instructions: If your pages have heavy images set above more basic content in the load order, the result may be a fragmented and unpredictable rendering process. Application sequencing’s  “just in time” content delivery approach is especially crucial when your customers are on devices with a reduced-speed Internet connections such as a 3G network.

Leverage dynamic serving for better customer engagement

Dynamic serving – another idea to run by your IT department – lets you use the same URL structure across devices, changing the experience depending on your customer’s device. It involves altering HTML code on the fly according to the type device, location, connectivity speed and other information about the user, which further customizes the user’s experience. Additionally, dynamic serving resizes and compresses images and other rich media depending on the user’s circumstances. Users won’t know that the site has been tailored just for them – but the experience will be great, and they will be more likely to convert as a result.

Try your mobile site on for size

It may sound rudimentary, but it’s valuable to experience your brand’s site in the same way as your mobile customers do. Test it out. One way to do this is by taking an all-hands-on-deck approach and involving your entire organization. Try every device you can and involve everyone with a stake in customer loyalty and satisfaction. How does the mobile site work on the train? In the elevator? At your desk? From high-speed to the lowest Wi-Fi speed imaginable, your team should analyze your site critically. (If you really want to go whole hog with device testing, simply go on a device shopping spree)

While every brand wants a website that stands out from the rest, the reality is that every brand needs a site that functions best depending on a user’s given profile. At the end of the day, customer loyalty and engagement trumps all the bells and whistles.

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