The Division of Student Affairs Department of Information Technology has just launched a new site. The site is based upon WordPress and uses a very popular theme called Avada by Themefusion, which is billed as the #1 selling WordPress theme in the world. We selected Avada primarily because it is very responsive. But also because the built-in theme feature set is so robust, that you can do almost any type of design without a large amount of custom CSS work. This makes it a good theme for our departmental customers who want to have a sharp looking site without having to wait for IT to mock it up. The site is also integrated into our departmental Twitter feed so stories go out via social media.
The manager uses mobile-friendly websites as key communications tools to further the organization’s strategic goals. They ensure time and resources to support websites are available. Their knowledge of organizational priorities and other relevant information guide development of an effective departmental web presence.
How will you know how effective your new responsive site is? You’ve spent hours sweating over bootstrap files and workflow mockups, but all your work could be for naught if you haven’t planned for the post-mobile world as Jeff Eaton, Senior Digital Strategist at Lullabot, presented at last year’s Drupal Conference in Portland, Oregon, “Building for a Post-Mobile World.”
Mobile is not a new trend. Review the stats Texas A&M GoMobile team provided. 75% of Texas A&M students connect to the Internet via cell phone. Outside our campus, Eaton states that 47% of adults use their phone for Internet browsing, while 15% use their phone as the primary or sole source for Internet browsing.
If your site is not accessible on a mobile device, there is a good chance you are missing out on valuable user traffic which could mean declining admission rates, research funding or donor support. But, just creating a mobile site is slapping a band-aid on a larger problem: your site’s content.
“People don’t want different content or less content [on mobile sites]. They imagine that their devices are different windows on the same content, and we don’t get to choose how people view our stuff.” – Karen McGrane, A List Apart
Not that mobile design isn’t important — it is. Creating a site that is easy to navigate and read is paramount to maintaining your user base. However, if you have a site with no content, then you have no site at all.
Eaton suggests that instead of focusing on the end published version, we should look at our content as pieces with purpose. A page is not a single element but a group of elements with various levels of importance to your end users.
Knowing what content your to present on your site and what your users are searching for is the first step in creating a site that will survive the mobile apocalypse.
Watch his entire presentation or check out these other great presentations from the conference:
For many groups on campus, Google Analytics is a great tool to help you tweak your navigation and design. What about using it to show how people are accessing your site from a mobile perspective?
Check out this Google Analytics dashboard that you can add to your account that will help you get a better understanding of what devices are visiting your website.
If you are wondering whether or not it is time to go responsive (the answer is yes you should by the way) then why not let your site analytics answer the question for you. We have built a ready to use google analytics dashboard that lets you see how your site is stacking up across desktop mobile and tablets.
We have evangelized to you about using the “Responsive Web Design” for over two years now. We have done numerous presentations on: “Why Go Mobile”, “How to Go Mobile” and best practices. We have even done some basic training and given you templates to get you started with Responsive Web Design. So now what?
Well, we have one more option which would be beneficial for you. Prepare yourself for some engaging Responsive Web Design Conferences! These are events gather some of the top experts in the field to present on cutting edge topics related to Responsive Web Design and Development. Many of these conferences also have training available, so you gain practical development knowledge. There are a plethora of training opportunities prepared with you in mind. Here are a few options:
- An Event Apart: Multiple Locations
Multiple dates in 2014
- Beyond the Desktop Conference: Dallas, Texas
March 31 – April 2, 2014
- RWD Summit 2014: Online
April 1 – 3 2014
- ARTIFACT Conference 2014: Austin, Texas
May 5 – 7 2014
- HighEdWeb 2014: Portland, Oregon
October 19 – 22, 2014
All of these conferences have a cost associated with it. For those that need some persuasion tactics for your boss to get one/more of these conferences on the usual tight budget, please see these links:
Why Go Mobile: http://gomobile.tamu.edu/why-go-mobile
Convince your Boss https://bdconf.com/resources/pdf/convince_your_boss.pdf
So……now what? See you at the conference!
Due to high demand, the Texas A&M Mobile team is providing another session of the hands-on responsive web design workshop. This training is offered at no charge to A&M System employees. Lunch and training materials will be provided. Please bring your laptop.
When: January 27, 2014, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Where: General Services Complex, Room 101 B&C
Hurry! Enrollment is limited to 20 seats.
Download the resources needed for the class: RWD Workshop Resources