Measuring 3,000 private school websites in our report, Private School Digital Insights (August 2014), uncovered lots of interesting statistics about website navigation and design.
But one stat, in particular, answered some questions that I think many of us were curious about:
With the rise of mobile devices, how are private school websites adapting? More specifically, are they utilizing responsive web design (RWD)?
Our research revealed that 22% of private schools sites (August 2014) utilized responsive web design — meaning their designs responded to whatever device was accessing it — mobile, tablet or desktop.
We took another look at this group in early 2015 and saw a 9% jump to 31%. Here we are a year later, and I think it’s fair to assume another significant leap in RWD adoption.
Here’s the takeaway — schools understand that they need to display their content in the best possible way across all devices, both in front of and behind the password.
Just imagine a parent visiting the admission section of a non-RWD site via their phone? What kind of an impression does that leave?
But have you ever wondered about the origins of responsive design and how it became a standard in such a short time? Who had the foresight to see the need for a better, more flexible way to display web content across the ever increasing range of devices?
Joining me to talk about the birth and rise of responsive design is the man who founded the concept, Ethan Marcotte. Ethan is a designer, developer, author, and podcast host in Boston, MA, who unveiled the idea of responsive web design in a blog post on a list apart in May 2010.
From that simple article, a more flexible approach to design has been adopted by a huge range of sites including the Boston Globe, Time Magazine, CNN, Starbucks, and of course 31% of all private school sites! His approach has redefined the way we all interact with websites today.
For a full breakdown of what we covered, make sure to check out the episode notes below.
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- So let’s get into a time machine and head back to 2010. Ethan talks about the days, weeks, months leading up to his blog post for a list apart. What was going through his head at that time? How & why did his thinking about web design land on the concept of responsive?
- Ethan introduced the approach, but lots of concepts get introduced every day. Hear how RWD emerged from an idea to design standard.
- Learn how has responsive web design matured from 2010-2016.
- “What does it feel like to know that you’ve changed the way people all over the world access websites?” A big question, hear his answer.
- Let’s get tactical, according to Pew, 64% of Americans own a smartphone, plus the usage stats are interesting. Knowing this, there’s a growing movement to design mobile first. Ethan shares his take.
- In his new book (http://abookapart.com/products/responsive-design-patterns-principles), Ethan talk about the future of RWD — hear his take on what the future holds for RWD.
- Let’s get prescriptive. For someone about to jump into the process of creating a new site design to replace a non-RWD site, Ethan offers advice.
About the Author
Peter Baron is the Chief Member Relations Officer at the Enrollment Management Association. Prior to joining EMA, Peter served as a senior product marketing manager, for Blackbaud K-12. Peter is the founder of edSocialMedia, a community-driven site dedicated to exploring the role of social media in education. He regularly contributes to various online communities and education conferences like NAIS, CASE/NAIS & SSATB to explain the importance of providing modern, user-friendly experiences for school constituents. Peter also serves as a trustee for Wolfeboro, The Summer Boarding School and is an Executive Committee member of TABS’ North American Boarding School Initiative.Follow on Twitter More Content by Peter Baron