Sparks from a sparkler

Don’t know if you need responsive design? Prove it to yourself.

For the past several months, you’ve been reading about responsive web design and why this trend is important to you and to your customers. If you’re still not convinced to allocate budget or prioritize it among your other website enhancements, let me help you determine how relevant responsive web design is to you.

First, take a look at your own Google Analytics. Let’s be honest, you probably have analytics in place because it’s a best practice, but are you actually reviewing your own analytics on a regular basis and using those metrics to implement changes?

Right-click to view your page's source code.

Right-click to view your page’s source code.

If you aren’t sure you even have Google Analytics in place, go to your website, right-click on the page and click on “View Source” to open a new browser window with your HTML source code.

From here, do a Find (CTRL + F) for “google-analytics” and if you have it in place, you’ll find code similar to the following.

How to find your Google Analytics code

In your page’s source code, use the “Find”‘ command to see where your Google Analytics code is placed.

Now that you’ve confirmed that you have Google Analytics, let’s log into Google Analytics. If you don’t know your user id or password, you’ll likely need to get that from your marketing or information technology department(s).

Once you login, you should be able to access a dashboard similar to the one below and look for the “Mobile” link under Audience.

Find mobile user stats on the Audience navigation in Analytics

Find the “Audience” menu to access data about your visitors’ mobile use.

For demonstration purposes only, let’s just look at the past year and scroll up to the top right corner to change the reporting time from to January 1, 2013 – January 1, 2014.

Wait for the data to load and scroll back down to the main body to see how much mobile traffic your site has gotten. In this example, we want to look at “New Visits” and the “Device Category” of desktop, mobile, tablet.

View your mobile usage stats to see if you need responsive design.

View your mobile usage stats to see if you need responsive design.

In the screen shot (right), more than 50 percent of new customers are accessing the site in the last year by a smartphone and more than 60 percent of new customers are accessing the site by a tablet device. If more than half of your customer base is accessing your site through mobile technology (like a smartphone or tablet), it’s time to share your metrics with your marketing & IT directors to talk about the business impact.

Here’s more ammo for your meeting. Let’s take a quick look at what your customers are seeing.

Using Google Chrome,  go to ExperisSpark! on your desktop/laptop computer. Grab a copy of this layout using your favorite tool (Snipping Tool, Print Screen, etc.).

Next, grab the bottom right corner of the browser window  and pull it in to the left until the screen changes sizes for a tablet dimension (you should see a screen shot similar to the one below).

Finally, repeat the same process until you get to the smartphone dimensions and you’ll see a screen shot similar to the one below.

Here’s how they should look:

Spark home full width Spark home tablet Spark home phone

That’s responsive design in action. So now that you know how it works and how a site  should look on mobile devices, repeat the same activity with your own website. Bring your screen captures to your meeting to discuss your customer experience – and what it should be.

The last piece of data  comes from Google itself and how they rank mobile search results. In June 2013, Google announced changes in how it will conduct rankings in an effort to help you engage your users fully through mobile devices and  will demote your ranking if your site is not not mobile friendly. Furthermore, Google provided its list of recommendations for mobile devices and responsive design was the very first improvement listed.Now you can prove why you need a responsive web design. You’re armed and ready with the data and visuals to support your conversation with your marketing and  IT directors. Take this opportunity nowto encourgae your organization to implement change.  You  don’t want to fall further behind the crowd in 2014.