Does Your Website Adapt?

Almost every I talk to these days either wants a mobile or tablet version of their website, or perhaps they already have one.  And why shouldn’t they? We see it every day in stores, at work, at the soccer field, and (unfortunately) while driving in cars; everyone has their face buried in a Smart Phone.  The statistics tell the story best, rapid growth in mobile browsing.  This clear trend makes mobile and tablet website presence a requirement.

The problem is, you need one design for the iPhone, another for the iPad, the BlackBerry, Kindle, Nook.  In the next 3-5 years we will need additional designs for more devices.  We all must recognize that this requirement will never stop.

For dealer website designers and developers, we’re past the point where we can effectively keep up with the onslaught of new devices, screen sizes and resolutions.  Maybe your website designer has told you that building a new version for each device and screen resolution is not practical.  What should we do?

What if you could just focus on building one website, and it would automatically adjust, shrink images, and change content based on the browsing device?  What if you never had to worry about the next new connected device for browsing your website?  The answer is easy, and it starts with a platform called Adaptive Website Design.  What does this mean?  An Adaptive Website automatically adjusts the screen resolution, menus and images, while also altering the content and menu structure depending on the size of the screen.  You no longer need to worry about, “Does this work on the new iPad, or the new [fill in the blank]?”  When websites are built with Adaptive technology, they don’t care if your screen is a jumbo flatscreen in the basement of someone’s house, or the smallest smartphone browsing in the doctor’s office.  The website simply “adapts” to the new device.

The concept of adapting the screen size and images is pretty straightforward, but we do need to give some thought to how we might want to adapt the menu structure.  Making all of the content from a large desktop screen available on a smaller mobile screen is rarely the best answer.  For mobile environments the user wants simpler navigation, more focused content, lists or rows instead of multiple columns.  For car dealers, that means skipping the pictures of our sales team, and instead making sure that the mapping function is high and prominent.  We may also want to adapt the site for mobile to avoid presenting long contact-us forms, and instead opt for click-to-call functions. We must think about the functions that are important to a mobile user, and make sure that when the website adapts, we make the right menu and content decisions.  If your provider offers Adaptive Websites, they can give you guidance and recommendations here.  The wonderful thing about adaptive websites, is that you can set up these defaults, then your website automatically defaults depending on the screen size of the user.

Choosing the Adaptive approach for your dealer website means you no longer need to worry about today’s or tomorrow’s devices, since the site will always adapt to any device.  You can develop a single website design, and know that the same, consistent content will be delivered to users regardless of the device they’ve chosen.  Best of all, the experience can still be customized to tailor to the needs of the mobile vs. home-based shopper.

When I first saw an Adaptive Website, I was blown away by the technology.   It not only improves the experience for the shopper, but it is much easier for the dealer to set up and maintain.  In the future, all websites will adapt to Adaptive Website technology, you should push your website provider to make you among the first.  Say goodbye to worries about mobile and tablet shoppers, and focus on selling cars!


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