Responsive Design Requires Strategic Collaboration

I’ve been recommending to many of my customers a responsive design approach for a while now. I’ve always felt that it provides a consistent branded experience across multiple devices with less ongoing maintenance. The trade off is that it does take more effort to define, design and develop a responsive website.

There are lots of articles about responsive design but this one I read on the Real World UX website is the first one that takes a broad overview of the cross-functional perspectives that should be considered. In  “Deciding whether to go responsive requires strategic collaboration” the author details considerations from the business strategy, user experience and development area perspective. For each area there is a list with a need and a short explanation of that need.

The article stresses the need for cross-functional collaboration to broaden the understanding of the needs in each area involved in a responsive website design project. Without this understanding conversations between the areas may “devolve into arguments rather than constructive dialogue”.

The one thing I find missing from this article is a solution to facilitating these sometimes difficult cross-functional conversations. I believe you need to have an experienced Business Analyst involved in the project. Their role are to elicit requirements from all stakeholders in the project – that includes design and development needs. It is their job to be able to communicate those requirements clearly to all parties involved and make sure they understand each others perspectives. I also believe that a strong, independent Project Manager will keep those cross-functional teams on track and informed during the project.

I like the lists of cross-functional considerations in this article. My recommendation for a successful project would be to include a Business Analyst and Project Manager (or someone who can perform both roles) as a part of your responsive website project team.

Social Media Mistakes

Everyone wants to avoid common mistakes so I was intrigued when I saw the article 5 Most Common Mistakes in Social Media. What I found interesting is that some of these could apply to all digital content in general.

Know what your metrics should be. Just like anything you track you need to know what you want to track so you know if your successful. In Social Media it’s not only quantity but quality. Your followers need to be talking about you. You need to be following what their saying and engaging with them. What do you want to monitor?

Beware of having too many handles. This may dilute your message and divide your followers. For large organizations this can be difficult to keep in check. Think about having one area responsible for keeping track of the organizations handles and providing some best practices and guidelines for them to follow.

Compelling content is something that crosses all digital mediums. To keep followers engaged you must be interested and interesting says the author. This requires that you know your target. Respond to comments and ask questions – be engaged.

Isolation of the social media function can limit it’s success. Many areas can benefit from participating. Plus isolation can lead to too many channels being created.

Lastly, have a plan. Create a road map that defines the purpose for each channel with an editorial calendar. Share the plans across your organization. Understand escalation paths and make sure you have the resources to handle it.