Yup. Mobile. Again.

We really don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but it continues to amaze us when we see successful companies which have still not addressed their unresponsive (read: not mobile-friendly) websites. This recent chart from the insightful folks at Statista underscores the trending well.


PC sales have done nothing but decline since 2011, and are forecasted to eventually stabilize per research from International Data Corporation (IDC). Tablets, phablets, detachable tablets, and phones have all impacted the market substantially. There are, of course, other factors such as the general economy (commodity prices and foreign currency headwinds for example) and perceptions regarding added value or lack thereof of new PCs that affect these trends.

But let’s face it, most of us are hard-pressed to think of a day in which we haven’t used either our mobile phone, tablet, or phablet to access a website.

And there are few things more irritating than landing on an unresponsive website. Your handy hand-held now requires two hands as you try to awkwardly use your fingers to blow-up the micro-text you’re trying to read. Then you have to slide around in an attempt to find a tab in the main navigation to get to your intended destination. A few expletives, and BAM, you’ve abandoned the site in search of greener pastures.

We’re pretty sure that most university marketing programs do not stress a make it hard for the customer to find your product or service philosophy. So why isn’t every company on the planet jumping into website redesigns? Good question.

We think there are four main reasons:


You can't WISH away mobile. [Photo credit: SuperFamous.com]

You can’t WISH away mobile. [Photo credit: SuperFamous.com]

  1. They don’t think there’s a big problem with having an unresponsive website.

We can always point to Google’s demoting of non-mobile friendly websites as the most actionable reason to believe it’s a big deal to have an unresponsive website. And now Google is preparing for what some are calling Mobilegeddon2. In May 2016, Google plans to,“…start rolling out an update to mobile search results that increases the effect of the ranking signal to help our users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly.” As a design studio that’s deeply involved in creating fantastic and intuitive user interfaces and user experiences, we struggle to digest that a successful company doesn’t view unresponsiveness as a big problem.

2. There’s no money in the budget.

This one we understand. Depending on the size of an organization, the move to a responsive website and/or a mobile app can be a considerable undertaking. We get that. As with most new marketing initiatives, we recommend that you put together a compelling rationale plus ROI that your senior management cannot ignore. Here are few thoughts to bolster your argument.

3. It’s a big undertaking because they need to update the whole website anyway – it’s easier to just keep putting it off.

It’s like dieting. You’ve been adding a couple extra pounds every year, but instead of jumping on it, you’ve let it slide and now you need to do something serious. A few pounds has become an even 10. Your favorite jeans don’t fit. You don’t want to go out. It’s like that with your website, if you haven’t been consistently addressing its upkeep (let’s face it, it’s hard to fit everything in), that killer bod is now, well, rather unsightly.

You have to face the facts. It’s only going to get worse. Mobile is not going away, nor are all those updates and subtle improvements that your website needs. The sooner you get it into a more manageable configuration, the better you are going to feel. Just contacting a design studio to start the conversation will help. So hop on the treadmill and cut the carbs. You’ll feel better once you get started. We promise.

4. Aliens have invaded their bodies with no concept of Earthly digital interactions.

We’re closet nerds. It could happen, right? Plus, it would explain a lot.

What are you thoughts? Are we missing something?

If you’re ready to dive in – or perhaps put a toe in the water, GIVE US A JINGLE.



The Age of Mobile – Downton and Design

The month of January is always rife with expert predictions about trends in the New Year. Some are outlandish, some are wishful thinking, and some are on target.

One area that we believe is on target is the continuing march of mobile supremacy over its desktop relatives. If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, you might compare this transformation to the devolution of Britain’s aristocracy following the Great War.

With the superb vision of hindsight, we are amused at the desperate grasping of the Dowager Countess Violet Crawley and Sir Michael Reresby of Dryden Park (Season 6 Episode 3) to the old ways. They both believe that if somehow they can maintain the status quo just a bit longer, these nagging fads (fewer servants, women without escorts, the lower classes seeking improved circumstances) will soon fade.

Sometimes, we wonder if these ostrich thoughts are running through the buried heads of those who are not concerned about their non-responsive websites. Do they think that mobile phones, phablets, and tablets are silly trends that will soon fall out of vogue?

Like Countess Cora Crawley last Sunday, we’ve done our homework. Take a look at the share of mobile online sales on Black Friday in 2015. A full one-third of online sales were executed on mobile. And look at the trend – talk about a march. Those stair-steps remind us of another January activity – New Year’s resolutions and working out.


So if you don’t have an eCommerce website, are you off the hook? Nope. Let’s not forget that mobile passed desktop in Internet usage in 2015. Oh, and that Google will potentially penalize you for not having a mobile friendly site. No big deal unless you want prospective clients/customers to find you when they are searching in your industry.

Take a look at new device activations during the holiday season. This chart might take a moment to digest. But here’s the big bite: People like their smartphones and bigger smartphones (phablets), more than tablets. How’s your website looking on your cell phone?


If you’re having trouble letting go of your valet or lady’s maid, we have one last chart for you. While we don’t believe that people are abandoning PCs, the last three years have not been particularly kind to the big lugs. The strength of the U.S. dollar may not have helped overseas sales, but analysts see structural changes on the horizon leading to fewer people using PCs.


Look, we know it’s tough. Mrs. Patmore is still struggling with her new refrigerator. But it’s time to get on the Branson, Lady Mary, and Lady Edith rail car. Let’s talk about getting your website ready to embrace modern times.

Top 10 Reasons You Need a Website Redesign – #YouMightBeAWebneck

Sometimes it’s difficult to know whether or not it’s time for a website redesign. Then again, sometimes it’s obvious. For example, when you’ve decided to take your brick-and-mortar business online and need to launch an eCommerce website – that’s obvious. Let’s face it, it’s a big investment to redesign your website – both internally and externally, and nobody wants to deploy precious marketing budget dollars needlessly. So here is our advice to help you in your decision-making process. If you answer yes to one or more of the items below, it’s probably time to talk to a trusted digital design agency.

You might be a webneck, if:


Your website doesn’t pass Google’s Mobile Friendly test.

This is a very simple concept. It’s pass/fail. As of April 21, 2015, Google began degrading organic search results for non-mobile-friendly websites. If you’re still enjoying strong search results, you’re lucky. Here’s the link to test your website: http://bit.ly/MobileFriendlyTestForGoogle.


Your website is not responsive.

No, that sentence doesn’t mean your website has no pulse and you should rush it to the ER. Although, figuratively, it kind of does. A responsive website is essentially one that can be experienced and look great on whichever platform it is being viewed. That means it looks good and is useable on smartphones and tablets, as well as desktops and laptops. If it’s not responsive, you didn’t pass #1 above either, but we need to underscore this point. Nearly a quarter of all 2014 online sales Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend were completed on MOBILE. Check out the charts below. Let’s face it, the world is going mobile.



2014 Holiday Season- M-Commerce-Key-Holiday-Shopping-Days_reference


Your website still has Flash.

Seriously? Sorry, we don’t mean to be offensive, but have you been living under a rock? If your website utilizes Flash, pick up your phone now. You need a redesign. You are broadcasting to the world that your business does indeed drag its knuckles on the ground. Apple’s Steve Jobs forcefully stated his reasons for not supporting Flash on iPhone and iPads back in April 2010, yet incredibly, over 20% of websites still make a Flash request.



Your website takes too long to load.

Sure, those graphics and that video were spectacular when you launched your new site just four years ago, but now no one is waiting around to see them. 47% of users expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, and 40% of users will leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load {source: Econsultancy}. You work so hard to get eyes to your website, don’t make them leave because you haven’t upgraded it.


Your website’s lost that lovin’ feeling.

And it’s gone, gone, gone. Once your page finally loads (see #4. above), users form an opinion in 0.05 seconds {source: Kinesis Inc.}. According to the NN Group, you have 10 seconds to leave an impression and tell them what they’ll get out of your website and company before they leave. So ask yourself, Does your website’s homepage pack a punch with a sharp, concise message that’s well supported by its graphical design?


Your website is text heavy.

Like it or not (and we at Designing North Studios are book lovers, so…), people don’t take the time to read much text online. If your website has page after page of paragraph after paragraph of text, nobody is reading it. That doesn’t mean you can’t have downloadable white papers or product descriptions, but it probably does mean that it’s time for a website overhaul.


The carpet doesn’t match the drapes.

Regardless of your interpretation of that metaphor, it drives the point home. In this globally competitive landscape, your prospective clients and customers don’t need any surprises. At least not negative surprises. If you fancy your legal practice as the go-to tech law firm, but your website looks like your nerdy nephew pasted it together in 2007, you better believe that when the innovator with the IPO of the decade checks out your site, he’s going to question your tech bona fides.


You’ve expanded globally, but your website is English – only.

If you expect to be a serious global contender, whether in eCommerce or as a service provider or thought-leader, you should consider offering your website in the language of the target home country. This is a big decision by the way. While digital translators have come a long way in the past decade, they are still imperfect. We know. We’ve tested them. Capiche? You’ll need to employ native speakers to assist in the translations, and you’ll need to be committed to translating future updates as well.


Your website hasn’t kept up with your competitors.

If you go online to check out a restaurant, you expect to be able to review its menu. So if you’re running a string of restaurants, and don’t display online menus, don’t expect to accumulate new customers via the Internet. Similarly, if you’re part of the premier orthopedic group in your town, but that practice across the tracks has a website that allows patients to cancel or modify appointments online rather than sitting on hold, as long as they’re not bolting patellae to scapulae, you might get lapped.


Your website adds no value to your customer/clients.

Over two decades ago when I started in this business, it was the Wild West. Nobody was quite sure what worked best. Many businesses just slapped something up on the web to ensure they had a Yellow Pages style presence. Every now and then that still works, but those instances are declining precipitously – think sliding down Everest on a bobsled precipitous. Equally, the websites that are sell, sell, sell are much like watching those insipid infomercials – you want to change the channel as soon as possible. If you’re selling jeans online, are you showing them paired with cute tops and shoes for outfit ideas? Do you have an FAQ section or a blog post about the various denim textures that you sell or a calculator that allows the customer to input their measurements, then spits out a recommended size? If you’re a law firm, does your home page cite a couple of recent cases to illustrate how you would approach a prospective client’s case? Do you offer periodic free tips to your corporate clients that might keep them out of court? Take a good hard look at your website with fresh eyes. Are you helping or just spamming and prattling?


Look, despite the fact that we are embedded in this business, the pace of change is annoying to us too. Just when we can operate a software platform in our sleep, the provider releases an upgrade. We’re not always a first-adopter; sometimes playing a little wait-and-see can be valuable – but eventually we have to bite the proverbial bullet. Plus, all of these upgrades (software, websites, computers, smartphones, etc.) and the concomitant re-training associated with them are expensive. Double sting. That said, what we’ve presented here are not the latest innovations or ephemeral trends. Our Top 10 Reasons You Need a Website Redesign are, in our professional opinion, clearly established indicators that if ignored, may profoundly impact your business in the near future.

Questions? Did we miss one? We would love to hear your thoughts –

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