2012 Conference

Everything You Know is Not Quite Right Anymore: Rethinking Best Practices to Respond to the Future (UAD2)

Everything You Know is Not Quite Right Anymore: Rethinking Best Practices to Respond to the Future
Dave Olsen, Professional Technologist, West Virginia University, and Doug Gapinski , Strategist, mStoner

If you’re participating in #heweb12 either in person, or via twitter, the web (Link!), instagram, etc., you already know that people are using a variety of devices — laptops, tablets, smartphones, game consoles, and TVs — to connect to the Internet.

With so many ways to connect, we need to rethink the ways we use the web to communicate by prepping existing content to meet these divergent platforms.

A few quick stats:
  • Mobile & tablet traffic is predicted to outpace ‘desktop’ traffic by 2015 or sooner — perhaps much sooner.
  • While most colleges are only showing 10-15 percent traffic from mobile, 55percent of Facebook’s active base accesses content via mobile.
  • Google reports that 90 percent of people start on a mobile device & switch to another.
Many highered mobile strategies centered around mobile specific sites. But, these solutions don’t scale, and therefore can’t keep up with newer technologies & the way we use them.
Your visitors’ mobile devices all have browsers – and they’ll use it before (or instead of) your mobile app. They’re getting links to websites from email and apps (like hootsuite) they access on their mobile phones — so it makes sense that your webcontent be easilty available to anyone using any platform.

Making the case

The easiest way to do this is to show examples. Doug recommends these
responsive design examples:

Planning and Testing

Planning  is the number one way to guarantee you wind up w. a high performance good looking site.  Don’t forget the “mobile breakpoint” — this is the significant shift that comes in using a site on a laptop/desktop/table to using it on a smartphone.
Two options are:
Planning  full wireframes for each breakpoint
its very thorough and can be a great solution for a retrofit because it provides the most details, but it’s very long process.
Responsive prototypes
You’ll need someone w. front end skills but allows you to get specific about repositioning.
Naturally, you’ll also need to Test, Test, Test.  Good performance is key for RWD, so designers and programmers need to figure out how to present a compelling site that can handle a smart phone, tablet, laptop on a variety of networks. Average page weight is 1MB (!!!) with 80 percent of that coming from images — so, guess what element needs to be rethought ASAP?
It’s also worth investing in a ‘mobile lab’ which can be had for under $500 with an iPod touch, Samsung Fascinate and HTC thunderbolt.


Looking to dive in to more resources and tips?  Find the presentation online later today at

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By Liz Gross

Liz Gross is the Director of Campus Sonar. Her professional super powers include designing and analyzing market research, applying social media strategy to multiple areas of the business, explaining difficult concepts in simple language, and using social listening to develop consumer insights and assist with reputation management. She received her Ph.D. in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service in Higher Education at Cardinal Stritch University.

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