In 2002, Audi launched the very first website built with “responsive design”. At the time, it was little more than an experiment, and they quickly got rid of it. But their design team, Razorfish, insisted they were onto something big – and now, 15 years later, responsive design has become massively important.
Today, I’d like to explain to you what “responsive design” actually means, and why it matters to you. I’d also like to tell you why it matters even more if you are an HR professional who is considering a cloud-based HR system.
What is “responsive design”?
Responsive design is an approach to web design that involves building webpages that adapt themselves to suit the size of the screen they are being displayed on. For example, visiting a responsively designed webpage on your mobile phone will look completely different to if you visited that same webpage on your laptop. This gives you an optimal browsing experience, without the need to tap, pinch, pull, zoom or drag.
In the Audi example, the responsive design was fairly primitive. Essentially, the Audi website would show one of three webpage sizes:
– 640 x 480 (small)
– 800 x 600 (medium)
– 1024 x 768 (large)
This suited most screen sizes at the time. But today, we have tablets, laptops, notebooks, smartphones, and desktop computers – all with screens that take on different sizes and dimensions. This makes modern responsive design a much more complex affair.
The rise of web-based applications and HR systems
It’s no longer just standard websites that are being built using responsive design principles. The rise of web-based software – SaaS (Software as a Service) – means that users can do so much more using their internet browser. Including accessing sophisticated systems with advanced functionality!
Today, many forward-thinking HR professionals are rejecting traditional HR applications that require local installation on company servers. Instead, they are opting for web-based solutions like People HR, Join Air and more , that offer the ability to manage important HR functions directly from an internet browser.
Modern HR professionals use web-based software to manage all sorts of core HR tasks, such as:
– Managing and maintaining the employee database
– Launching performance reviews and appraisals
– Submitting and approving holiday requests and expense reports
– Analysing employee data and generating reports
– Recording absence and attendance
– Storing company documents and contracts
The list of HR functions that can be taken care of using cloud-based HR software is growing. And what’s more, it’s no longer just HR administrators using it – it’s the entire workforce.
Why responsive design is important for HR professionals
A growing trend in HR software, is that of self service and full workforce engagement. HR professionals are using their HR systems to keep all of their employees connected, in a massively mobile world.
For this reason, it is becoming more and more important for you to ensure that the software you use is not just accessible on a range of devices, but that it is intuitive and easy to use – on any platform. And ensuring this, means ensuring you buy a system built with responsive design.
Be careful of clever marketing traps – responsive design is NOT the same as “works on mobile”
Some HR systems have had a lot of time and money pumped into making sure they are responsive. However, some providers take the lazy option – and you need to be careful, to avoid being stung.
So, if a brochure or website says “works on any device”, then proceed with caution. This could be a clever marketing trap that actually suggests there is no responsive design at all. It could simply mean that the solution is browser-based – and will therefore, in theory, allow you to access it from your smartphone or tablet.
But be warned: you may need to pinch, pull, zoom and drag in order to navigate the interface. And that can get very tiresome, very quickly (especially when all you’re trying to do is authorise a few simple holiday requests).
Instead, look for terminology such as:
– “Optimised” for mobile
– Built with “responsive design”
– “Adapts” to suit your device
Of course, even this isn’t a guarantee that the software will work as seamlessly on your smartphone as it does on your laptop. If you want to be sure, give potential providers a call, and ask them to talk to you about responsive design. Or even better, take a free trial, and see for yourself – you’ll know almost immediately if accessing the software on your tablet or smartphone is going to be a pain.
What does responsive design look and feel like?
Back in the days of the responsive Audi website, responsive design was a very simple affair. It was all about making sure the page size matched the size of your screen – so that you didn’t have to scroll left and right to read sentences, or find the right image.
Today, responsive design sees web pages and applications take on entire new forms. Menu buttons shift, icons become larger (or sometimes disappear completely!), and your entire experience is optimised for the device you are using.
Why responsive design continues to grow in importance
Using the internet on mobile devices is a rapidly growing trend. It isn’t slowing down. And companies who fail to use responsive design – either in their website, or their SaaS applications – are going to be falling behind.
Did you know:
– 93% of UK adults own and use a mobile phone (source)
– 56% of internet traffic comes from mobile devices (source)
– 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing (source)
Let me leave you with one final thought. Think about that last statistic – the 61% of users who are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing. Isn’t the point of implementing a cloud HR system so that all of your employees can use it regardless of their location? Isn’t the point to engage your workforce, streamline processes, and increase the accuracy of your information? Shouldn’t you therefore be encouraging employees to use your HR software, through a solution with responsive design?