Technology has always been an ever-changing industry, but consumer demands and economic circumstances end up being compelling factors to impact overall change. Responsive design is a niche topic of discussion among those who design and develop products for a living, but increasingly important in the wake of newer smart devices now entering the digital space. Software development in Sri Lanka, while primarily focusing on providing offshoring IT services to international clientele, has also evolved to offer technology-centric solutions, together with tools from leading cloud support services.
In other words, even IT offshoring isn’t done in a vacuum anymore, what with the rapid change of pace taking place within an expansive technology market. In turn, this goes to show just how responsive design trends are being influenced by a combination of both evolving technologies, as well as constantly shifting consumer needs. While trends come and go, why focus on optimizing responsiveness within your designs in the first place?
Customer churn rates are at an all-time high for many businesses, and this isn’t surprising, considering all the fierce competition out there. With competing businesses fighting for the top spot and customers therefore having limitless options to choose from, how do you cut through the noise and stand out? A stellar digital presence is essential, and one that is consistent in terms of design and functionality across multiple digital channels. While a multitude of factors determine customer retention, an easy system of navigation and ultimate consistency across multiple devices are the hallmark benefits that responsive designs can offer to your business.
Your customers are always looking for an easier, simpler and faster solution to their daily woes. Likewise, search engines are also doing the same thing for them. When a user searches for something online, search engines strive to suggest results that will be most relevant to the user. However, the overall competency of the website or application being suggested is also taken into consideration by the bots that operate search engines. This includes page load speeds and bounce rates, among others. A responsive design can vastly impact these variables. While image optimization can speed up webpages, an appealing interface can impress users long enough to stay (and purchase) from your website/application
At its core, responsive design is all about ensuring that your digital presence is consistent across multiple platforms, be it screen dimensions, operating systems, and ideally, a combination of both. However, the same concept also applies to your brand’s call-to-actions. Depending on device type and size, every customer of yours is accessing and experiencing your online services differently. You may have perfected a design that is compatible with differing screen sizes and dimensions, but is it really serving its purpose in terms of conversion?
Similar to how application designs need to mould and manoeuvre in order to accommodate different devices, platforms and screens, your call-to-actions also need to be given extra consideration across all these differing variables. Making sure that it is prominent and accessible is essential, as ultimately, that is what a digital presence is originally meant to achieve – drive revenue for your business, as users tap on the right buttons to purchase your product or service
Speeding up page load times is one of the first ways to retain your customer base, while also improving SEO efforts. For the former, a webpage or app that loads quickly is convenient enough for continuous use. Else, abandonment is sure to soon follow, as users begin to get frustrated and move on to the offerings of a competitor. For SEO, Google’s algorithms are ever-changing, which is a fact known to many. While the update which prioritized on websites that loaded faster was put into place a long time ago, it’s one aspect of the algorithm that is bound to stay – and for understandable reason, no doubt.
In order to improve page load speeds, the sizes and resolutions of images, illustrations, animations and 3D elements need to be optimized. That way, aesthetic appeal isn’t compromised in the wake of improving page load speeds. On the other hand, decide whether you wish to showcase entire images on mobile; while desktop applications can accommodate entire images, mobile-based or small-scale applications may benefit from displaying only part of a picture, in conjunction to a clear CTA for an overall useful application
Apart from scalable elements, responsiveness also needs to accommodate factors that are outside the control of a digital application – and spotty internet connections are one of them. Organizations both large and small have long since been well aware of the potential that lies outside of their core geographical regions. With numerous international markets bearing high potential, challenges abound, such as poor connectivity. In such circumstances, how can businesses still reach large numbers of people, without ever compromising on overall accessibility and quality?
There are many ways to circumvent this issue, and optimizing the responsive quotient of your application is one such way. By enabling your application to load quickly even in the wake of a spotty internet connection, you make your digital presence both responsive and resilient enough to surpass setbacks that would’ve otherwise proved to be a hurdle between your business’s products/services and a lucrative customer base.
While minimalism is a concept that many have heard of in the lifestyle space, it bears similar notion in the world of application development as well. Just like how unwanted items are warranted a removal when it comes to establishing a minimalist way of life, many elements in a conventional application can also be considered as ‘clutter’. This includes (but isn’t limited to) items such as excessively elaborate fonts, too much colour or even too many options for users to choose from. It’s not surprising to see why some of these elements may confuse or overwhelm users – especially if they’re completely new to an application.
While there is a general learning curve associated with every new application, excessive options and embellishments can perpetually be distracting. This can cause abandonment, especially if users realize that the application isn’t serving their needs, or there is another application (likely from a competitor) that offers them what they need with greater ease. Therefore, it is important to strike the right balance between using too much and too little.
As a result, the use of white space has been highly encouraged by the design community. While it has been a minimalist design trend that has been in vogue for quite some time, it is bound to stay as it produces neat layouts that are easy on the eye, while attracting users to capitalize on features and functionalities that truly drive business objectives home. However, this does not mean that intricate visual elements and colour schemes are obsolete; quite the contrary, in fact. These can constitute the bells and whistles to any application, where visuals ranging from images to illustrations can be a focal point, and add the ‘wow’ factor for extra appeal.
The fact that the digital presence for the typical brand or business goes way beyond a simple website is a fact that doesn’t need to be stressed. With multiple digital channels out there, how do you consolidate your design such that it is both responsive and consistent? Digital channels go way beyond even the regular mobile application; IoT devices are steadily proliferating the consumer market space, and even the most boutique startups have now based their entire business models on smart devices.
This creates more variables to address, for the overarching concept of responsive web design. From home appliances to wearables, the sizes of screens can radically vary, therefore creating a unique challenge. How can your application’s design make important functionalities accessible, even from a screen that isn’t much larger than the display of a regular wrist watch? On top of that, modern IoT devices are primarily used for delivering insights, thereby creating endless streams of data. As devices do the monitoring, gathered data is then crunched – which then needs the right interface to showcase itself.
IoT devices are usually connected to mobile apps, which do the reporting. In this case, it is imperative to understand how different styles of data visualization are also laid out, so that they offer valuable insights at a glance that are also easy to digest. All these variables together create brand new viewpoints for responsive digital designs. With IoT devices added to the mix, it is an important point of discussion to be had with your development team, in order to understand how responsiveness can be maintained even in the most challenging of screen environments and device autonomies
The high rate of change experienced by the technology industry is unprecedented. Likewise, responsive designs are no exception to this rule. Responsive designs have evolved far and beyond over the years, with more factors being added for consideration. Therefore, there’s no doubt that businesses need to also evolve, by constantly staying updated on what’s trending, and vice versa. Changes in consumer behaviour and economic climates can also be a driving factor for new trends, which, upon close inspection, can offer breakthroughs in terms of what your brand needs to adopt for greater customer acquisition.
While these are external factors, which internal factors influence how your application’s responsive quotient improves with the times? Taking a deeper look at how users are interacting with your application, both directly and indirectly, are prime sources for understanding what’s working and what’s not. Action is taken by making necessary changes so that users are satisfied with your online presence, and subsequently feel comfortable enough to rely on your services such that they don’t need to look elsewhere.
As a sidenote, any DevOps lifecycle always needs an established gamut of development tools so that changes can be done on demand, and at scale. Leading cloud service providers are at the forefront of offering everything under one roof. Through business partnerships, such as being an AWS partner, for instance, such processes can be further streamlined to increase productivity, while maintaining costs at a minimum
As user behaviour and economic circumstances change, they also stir changes in the way technology is consumed day by day. Digital applications are constantly under pressure to accommodate shifting demands; with customers generally left spoilt for choice owing to endless options, these and many other variables persuade businesses to keep updating what they offer. A design that is responsive has many benefits, ranging from the obvious to the not so obvious. A neater, cleaner and overall more pleasant user interface will certainly be an immediate and hands-on benefit for all stakeholders involved. However, better placements within search engines and higher conversion rates are the eventual (albeit not immediate) outcomes of a responsive design.
What was mainly confined only to differing screen dimensions and devices has now become the norm, when it comes to responsive designs. Other variables such as smart devices and internet connectivity have become more pressing issues, in the arena of responsive application development. IoT devices play a huge role for both consumer and commercial requirements, gathering data and crunching insights on a real-time basis. This already creates a mighty challenge, as the range of devices now having digital capabilities have drastically increased.
On the other hand, the challenges posed by spotty internet connections are different, but no less easy to tackle. Building a [responsive] design that is functional at its peak even in the wake of poor connectivity is a breakthrough for many businesses, especially those that are striving to establish a foothold in markets where connection issues are common
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