We’ve been talking about Responsive Design for a long time. In truth, Geonetric was one of the first healthcare Web firms to promote the benefits of this approach in our industry. With the explosion of new devices, form factors, and formats like Windows 8’s touchscreen computers and convertible laptop/tablets, it’s more important than ever to evolve our thinking from “the mobile Web” to a “Whole Web” philosophy.
The initial goal of Responsive Design was simply to deliver all of the content and functionality on our websites to the mobile audience. And it accomplished that. Adobe Flash® features went out the window. Mouse-over menus were outfitted with touchscreen friendly navigation support. And content was prioritized to keep the most important items visible as screens got smaller and smaller.
But now as designers gain more experience with Responsive Design, they’re not just adapting their design techniques. They’re also adapting their processes to deliver a better digital experience given the new demands of emerging platforms. The mobile first design approach – where you create a design for the mobile site before the desktop site – is an example of this.
Changing our processes requires us to rethink the solutions we deliver. This has certainly proven true as Responsive Design evolves beyond making more usable mobile sites to developing the whole site based on the mobile experience. I’ve heard a lot of hospital marketing executives expressing a desire to have their website “not look like a hospital site.” And let’s face it – hospital websites were starting to look a lot alike. It’s time for change.
The drive to create great mobile experiences has initiated a Web design renaissance. We think not just in the horizontal but also the vertical. Designing “above the fold” is an antiquated concept, and scrolling is no longer verboten as gesture supports – such as swiping and pinching – make it easier for visitors to find information below the fold. Designers need to embrace the new reality – a lack of the type of precision control in how their designs will look to any given user as they build sites that adapt.
The emergence of mobile isn’t an event or a change that happened very quickly. It’s a series of changes that have been happening and will continue to happen. That’s why it’s an exciting time to be working in the healthcare Web space. But, it’s also a risky time for organizations that are resting on their laurels and not being aggressive in keeping up with a changing Web!
To learn more about how healthcare website design is changing and explore some hospitals that are breaking the “hospital website design” mold, join us for our webinar, “Pushing Hospital Website Design” at 3:00 p.m. CT on June 20.