We’re putting a lot of thought into responsive design in our web projects for a reason – the days of struggling to navigate websites on a smartphone are over. Today, responsive (smartphone-friendly) design is the norm. It allows users to easily navigate content, which is particularly important for travel and tourism websites. Why? More than 60 percent of Google searches now come from smartphones and that number is growing. That statistic is mirrored by the analytics we track on the sites we manage. When people are making travel plans at home, at work or on the road, they are using their phones. When they are exploring destinations, the smartphone is their guide. In fact, a survey commissioned by Expedia found that one-fifth of U.S. travelers consider their smartphone the most indispensable item for travel, just as important as carrying a driver’s license. We are working to make sure we capture this audience.
How do we build a responsive site that serves these travelers? We start by taking a mobile-first approach to our design process. Our designs use a fluid grid that allows a flexible, scalable layout. In other words, it will still be easy to navigate and attractive, no matter what the screen size. We use flexible text and images that can be scaled and cropped, allowing display on a small screen. The site is coded to allow multiple layouts and before we launch a site, we conduct user testing on multiple devices to ensure that all elements of the site function properly. We make sure the site works on the latest iPhone and Android devices, as well as phones that are a few years old.
Website design is an evolving craft and responsive design is something that we’ll continue to make central to our design work, so when someone is conducting travel research, they’ll find their destination.