Responsive design is a hit nowadays, but surprisingly many do not know what responsive design exactly is, or what it refers to, or how it is beneficial. They often ask designers to design responsive websites without knowing the right usage model for their target audience. There are mainly two design types – responsive design and task-oriented UX design.
Responsive design approach
Responsive design is the design that adjusts itself to fit all user mediums of different sizes. Websites with responsive design sync easily with the varying screen sizes of desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. This design type is ideally suitable for product based websites and ecommerce portals whose main consumer targets are tablet users and smartphone users. Websites with heavy content load are difficult to browse on smaller mediums such as smartphones. It is evident from here that some go for website design without knowing the suitable usage model for their purpose.
Task-oriented design approach
Task-oriented design approach is the approach towards designing three different versions of a website for three different platforms – desktop, tablet and phone. Each of these user platforms requires a particular usage model which is created by task-oriented UX designers. The expected user activity is taken into consideration while designing websites within a specific usage model. The most suitable model for the target users of a website must be identified before taking the ultimate stand on design.
2 different task-oriented design approaches
There are two task-oriented design approaches – consumption task and interaction task. Some websites are exclusively designed and developed to provide target users food (content) for consumption. New York Times, London Times, The Guardian, CNN, etc. are some of the leading websites with consumption tasks. There is hardly any other user activity than search for exclusive content, reading it and sharing it on these sites. If such a website is not mobile device friendly, it needs redesign.
Interaction-task oriented websites are supported with a multidimensional interaction model. If target users are expected to perform other activities than browsing, reading and sharing, interaction model is the most suitable one. Especially product based websites are designed and developed integrating the features of a rich, interactive model. Just responsive design approach is not enough to build interaction-task oriented websites.
Usage models for websites
Desktops and laptops are the ideal usage models for the websites which require their target users to spend a longer time at a stretch. These models are ideal for complex tasks as desktops and laptops are more efficient than tablets in size and space. Responsive design is not at all a need to build websites with these usage models which require users with a single focus to grasp the content. It is just opposite in case of tablets and smartphones. These two mediums offer good use beyond four walls. Tablets and smartphones are suitable for quick bites such as search for a nearby restaurant, locating a store on the way, sharing interesting news on social media, checking a friend’s latest Facebook update, etc.
To be precise, websites are designed in keeping with target user groups and their preferred usage models. Feel free to contact me for a discussion on the right usage model for your website in details.