Responsive Designs Critical to Improve Viewer Interaction

More than 50% of viewers will consult your Website on a mobile device. Make sure all visitors can see your content.

Donors are 34 percent more likely to give to organizations that have invested in mobile-friendly responsive designs than those that have not. This is one of the findings of a study of responsive Websites and nearly 5,000 online donations by npENGAGE.

The results of the study may provide new impetus to the 60 to 70 percent of nonprofit organizations that still have not adopted responsive designs for Websites and email communications. The cost of redesign is often cited as a primary reason delaying a redesign, but a possible increase of more than a third in online donations may help tip the scales. 

Responsive designs allow visitors to have similar viewing experiences without the need to enlarge type or scroll across a Webpage, whether they are using a computer, tablet or cell phone. A well-designed responsive site will make allowances for as many as 30 different screen sizes.

Google and other search engines often penalize Websites that are not designed for use on mobile devices.    

In addition to making sites easier to view on a multitude of devices, what is shown on cell phones can be different than what desktop computer viewers see. Some organizations prioritize the information that cell phone visitors see, dropping ads, promotional boxes and sometimes even photos, from the desktop versions. 

Key ingredients of sites using responsive design techniques include: fewer primary navigation options, large photos, larger font sizes, extra white space, big tappable buttons for call-to-action purposes, and longer scrolling on pages. Organizations may also want to focus on providing easy to understand infographics whenever possible instead of text. 

While longer pages make for easier viewing on mobile devices it is important that the Web designed incorporate a floating header dock so that the organization's brand and logo appears at the top of every screen. A good example of this feature -- and prioritization of content -- can be found on the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Website.

Other design features that should be considered in a new responsive site include: removing social media icons from the top of a site's page design, moving them to the footer instead. Use social media plug-ins when possible instead of simple linked buttons. That will enable site viewers to like a Facebook page or other social media without redirecting visitors away from the original site. 

Since the origin of Websites, designers have fought email harvesters who scrape Websites for email addresses and email spam opportunities. Including actual email links are actively discouraged on Websites today due to email spam issues and because clicking on the link is likely to open the viewer's default email client which may not be the mail client that is normally used. Instead use email forms every place an email link might have been used in the past. 

When responsive design is adopted for an organization's Website, make sure it is also implemented in email templates. Most email marketing systems have examples of responsive templates.