Figure 1: The new responsive design MyPrintResource.com home page
Table 1: Worldwide sales of smartphones to end users by vendors in 2013
Figure 2: The channel dropbox menu provides access to the new channelized content in smaller screens.
Figure 3: The channel dropbox menu provides access to the new channelized content in smaller screens.
Figure 4: The additional resources drop-down menu allows users to access content such as the event calendar, the print magazine pages, career listings, online classifieds, your online user account, advertising information, contacts, and also all of the special content that we feature each year all in one place.
If you’ve visited MyPRINTResource.com lately, you may have noticed things have changed—especially in how the site looks and operates. MyPRINTResource rolled out a new responsive website design in early February. This new design changes as you resize your window—the content magically fitting in whatever view you currently have, from three columns all the way down to one—and translates very well to other devices, like iPads, tablets, and smartphones.
But what is responsive design? According to Wikipedia, “Responsive Web design (RWD) is a Web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors). A site designed with RWD adapts the layout to the viewing environment by using fluid, proportion-based grids, flexible images, and CSS3 media queries, an extension of the @media rule.”
While that might seem a little technical there’s a good reason behind the shift to responsive design websites: mobile and tablet growth.
An Increasingly Mobile Society
More and more people are accessing content on the go, using their mobile smartphones and tablet computers to do so.
According to a report by Neilson in late 2013, nearly three-quarters of all new mobile phone purchases were of smartphones. Back in 2012, that number was under fifty percent.
Additionally, the most recent report by Gartner reveals that annual smartphone sales surpassed the sales of feature phones for the first time in 2013. “Worldwide sales of smartphones to end users totaled 968 million units in 2013, an increase of 42.3 percent from 2012 (see Table 1),” according to Gartner. “Sales of smartphones accounted for 53.6 percent of overall mobile phone sales in 2013, and exceeded annual sales of feature phones for the first time.”
You can see another shift from desktop/laptop computers to mobile tablets as well. According to TechCrunch writer, Natasha Lomas, in late 2013, “The tablet category is continuing to eat the PC’s lunch, albeit it’s a large lunch so the feast is taking a while. Analyst Gartner expects worldwide tablet shipments to grow 53.4 percent this year, with shipments reaching 184 million units. And while traditional PCs are still shipping a lot more units (303,100 forecast for this year), those shipments are continuing to decline—predicted to be down 11.2 percent on 2012 shipments.”
Because of this shift to mobile, content consumption habits are changing.
According to the Pew Research Center, news is an important part of what people do on their mobile devices—64 percent of tablet owners and 62 percent of smartphone owners say they use the devices for news at least weekly, tying news statistically with other activities such email and playing games on tablets and behind only email on smartphones.
The report also detailed that mobile users are also reading longer news stories—73 percent of adults who consume news on their tablet read in-depth articles at least sometimes, including 19 percent who do so daily. Fully 61 percent of smartphone news consumers at least sometimes read longer stories, 11 percent regularly.
So what it comes down to is this: the future is mobile. People are increasingly favoring their mobile devices over desktop computers to consume content. And if a website is not providing a mobile-friendly experience, visitors will go to a website that is easier to use.
MyPRINTResource wanted to create a platform to increase engagement on the web, create a better user interface for its growing mobile audience, and provide an innovative way to target content to a user’s interests. This is where responsive design came into play.
So what’s changed with the new site? Nothing and everything is probably the closest answer to the truth.
There’s no need to worry. All of the content that you have come to love and expect on MyPRINTResource.com from Quick Printing, Wide-Format Imaging, Inkjet's Age, and Printing News) is all still there, but it’s been organized into channels to better enable our users to more easily find information that pertains to their interests and needs.
The home page itself (Figure 1) now provides an endless scroll, with the newest content added to the site at the top of the page. You also have easy access to the latest videos in the Media Center module, which stays front and center on the home page. And no matter where you go on the site, clicking on the MPR logo in the top left will bring you right back to the home page.
Users also have quick access to their online user accounts, contact information, the ability to subscribe to newsletters as well as print and digital publications, and information about how to advertise in any of our brands directly from the homepage.
Now, in each block of content, you will notice a colored tag, indicating the content channel that item applies to—and that leads to our new navigation.
Across the top of the site, you’ll see our new easier navigation through the use of the new color-coded channels. If your window isn’t open wide enough to show all of the channels across the top, you will see a nifty drop-down on the left next to the MPR logo that will allow easy access to them. (Figure 2 and 3)
The content on the site has been divided into eleven new, relatively self-explanatory channels: Wide Format & Signage, Digital & Inkjet, Labels & Packaging, Finishing, Mailing, Prepress & Workflow, Offset, Business Management, Trade Services, Paper & Consumables, and Graph Expo. If you click on any of those channels, all of the content—articles, blogs, press releases, news, products, podcasts, media galleries, videos, documents, white papers, webinars, etc.—that populates the page will be on that specific topic. Clicking into any item will let you read further, and then as you scroll to the end of the item it will circle you right back into more related content—based on the channel you are in.
Also along the top navigation bar you’ll see a search feature and an additional drop-down menu. (Figure 4) This drop down menu allows users to access additional resources like the event calendar, the print magazine pages, career listings, online classifieds, your online user account, advertising information, contacts, and also all of the special content that we feature each year—the QP Top 100, the WFI Top Shops, the Sign and Commercial Print Franchise Reviews, and the QP and WFI Top Product Awards—all in one place.
With this new design, users will now get a very similar experience no matter how they choose to access the information on the site.
So take some time and check it out—on multiple devices—and let us know what you think!