Val Head - Designer, Consultant and Speaker.

Hello, World! This Site Is Now Responsive (If You Care)

Yesterday I posed a question about how responsive sites and redesigns are launched:

The question was a bit poorly worded (oops!), but most people figured out what I meant. I was curious how responsive redesigns were announced to the actual folks who would use the site.

Recently I’ve read a few posts (like this one) that point out user assumptions and past experience with shitty mobile sites may cause confusion when they encounter a responsive redesign. It absolutely
makes sense. Nobody outside of our Web Design world cares if the site is responsive, they just care if it works. And they probably have some battle scars from fighting anemic mobile sites.

Sure, it will take some time to change peoples’ mental model of what it means when a site looks different on their pocket-sized screens. But we must be doing something to help encourage that change, right? It’s not like we’re just silently launching responsive sites under the cover of night!

What methods do we use tell our audience that the new site we’ve just launched is new, improved, Responsive, and not one of those awful mobile sites you might be used to?

Curtis Jurgensen offered two very different examples:
Starbucks’ announcement of their redesign
Interestingly actually uses the term “Responsive Web Design” with a lovely short and sweet explanation. “…is now easier to use on a wide range of devices and screen sizes.” Nicely put! (Ben Callahan also had some effective wording on twitter.)

Meet the new Channel 4 Web Site
Essentially a commercial for the redesign. (Rather fitting for a TV channel’s site, huh?) It doesn’t mention RWD specially, but doesn’t skimp on mentioning the benefits.

Brad Frost also pointed out that sites with extensive changes sometimes offer an opt in “What’s New” feature tour for a redesign. Something nicely helpful, yet not too intrusive sounds like it would be effective.

Have a good example of responsive redesigns being announced to end users? Or even ones that crashed and burned? Let me know on Twitter, I’d love to see more!

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