The Changing Landscape for Responsive Design

Looking at the different devices you need to cater for, and the shifting balance between them

What’s in the video?

The web is changing fast.  Many agents, notably in larger urban areas, are now reporting that they have “tipped”, and over 50% of their traffic is coming on mobile devices (in which the iPad and tablets are typically bundled).  That’s hugely important to understand.

In this short video, which accompanies our written articles on the importance of mobile, we take a look at the entire landscape from big desktop, down through laptop, tablet and mobile:

The video explores the different ways the devices are used and the way this balance is shifting.  For example, desktop is getting bigger, which means you might want to think about bigger, softer coloured fonts.  And indeed you can now think about “responding upwards” too.  This trend is also behind some of the bigger photography / flat panel design trends we’re starting to see too.

Clearly Foxtons were one of the first agencies to capitalise on the “responsive approach” (or see here for a more technical article on the topic) to designing for this changing landscape.  They were on the trend early, years ago.  However, even today, we still see large proportions of estate agents who have not yet optimised their websites for mobile traffic, despite the fact that’s it’s been over 5 years since this trend became worth worrying about, and is now arguably half the battle.  If you haven’t sorted this yet (check your site on a mobile phone), then it really is time to get it addressed as it will now be loosing opportunities and setting a poor impression of your brand relative to competitors who have this sorted.  Most customers will see the mobile site at some point in their relationship with you.

One way to address it, is to get a brand new responsive website, we have numerous estate agent website themes, that can help sort that, at low cost, in weeks.  However, if you have only recently invested heavily in a solid desktop oriented website, of if you want a quick stop gap solution to tide you over whilst you design a full on responsive website, then you might want to consider plugging in a stand-alongside mobile optimised site which you can find in the mobile section of our website – an approach known as “adaptive design”.  In fact, the adaptive approach isn’t necessarily wrong, there are pros and cons to both approaches in truth.  That said, we feel the balance is now shifting towards fully responsive.

The video also explores the importance of email, and how the fact that email is increasingly being processed on a mobile phone means there is a big entry point for traffic to individual property pages on a mobile.  However it also explores how often the primary task on a mobile phone is simply getting hold of a branch phone number, to ring it.  This is such a key task, that we even dedicated an hour of user testing, in our recent user testing series, to this specific task of just getting hold of the branch phone number when using a smart phone.

If you enjoyed this one, then don’t miss our next video investigating how to respond, and the differences in quality between a basic responsive site, and a full on responsive one.  And you are also likely to enjoy our talk on Connecting your Agency, which is a higher level, strategic look at the way the web is changing for estate agencies in the medium term.