Content strategy does not equal responsive design
As outlined in Tuesday’s post, more and more websites are making use of responsive design. This means that a site is easily accessed and navigated from a host of different platforms- from desktops to smartphones. However, just because a website’s content is malleable, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any good.
Simply allowing your content to fit across different screens is a great way to reach a variety of readers, but is in itself not an efficacious content strategy. Design site Roodlicht.com explains it thusly:
“It’s like having a bar with a parking place, but not serving any non-alcoholic beverages.”
The content strategy headache
Common belief dictates that a site’s content should be the same across all platforms. This, however, is easier said than done. For example: a mobile device user will have different needs than a desktop user-something which responsive design doesn’t take into account.
Deciding what portion of content to keep, restructure or eliminate completely can be difficult. Add to that the annoyance of realizing you might have to rebuild your content strategy from scratch, and you’ve got the makings of a major headache.
Why you have to do it anyway
It may seem tempting to ignore any tactics, and simply squish your content to fit in anywhere. Ignoring the problem, however, will just make things more difficult in the long run. Companies and site designers should look at responsive design as an opportunity to fix their existing content strategy problems, and to build better sites in general.
Content strategy solutions
- Content revision: Although the long term goal is to have the same content across all platforms, right now some content will have to be reworked. Think of it as an opportunity to decide whether your content is valuable enough to be on the site at all, let alone all devices.
- Plan your workflow: You can’t introduce major changes overnight. Take the time to organise how and when the changes will be implemented- this will ensure your transitions will be graceful.
- Manage your time effectively: Realistically, you won’t have the hours to restructure every page of your site. Asses what is top priority, and start with that first.
In conclusion: responsive design should not be thought of as the answer to your content strategy problems. Instead, it should rather be seen as valuable technique to use alongside your content strategy. In the long run this should make for better websites- across all platforms.