responsive design

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Adaptive learning is an educational practice that tailors lessons to the learning level of each pupil. It is the opposite of the all too common pedagogical practice of “teach to the middle of the class ” where lessons are created for average, middle of the class students, not the highest or lowest performing. (Talk about no child left behind?) Adaptive learning is really individualized learning. As a term it has been taken over by technologists who employ computer software to identify a student’s learning level, via a battery of questions, and then create a learning scheme that best fits each student. It’s good pedagogy.  

Responsive design is the new “big thing” in web development. It creates a valuable, though often singular, web experience for users regardless of the device they’re using. And we know there are lots of devices and operating systems out there. There’s big money in responsive design today.

When we apply the tenets of adaptive learning and responsive design to digital marketing we recognize there is a long way to go before we’re not marketing to the middle of the class. Data people and ad serving jockeys will tell you they can serve up a special pieces of creative based upon user behavior or website visits, but this does not tell you where the customer is along the continuum of a sale (awareness, interest, desire, action and loyalty).  In offline and online we are still profoundly marketing to the middle of the class.

Brand love and brand loyalty will ebb through boredom. Through repetition. Marketers who treat their most loyal customers like babies are forgiven…up to a point. (America knows that “15 minutes can save you 15% or more on your car insurance.”)  So what’s the 21st Century Challenge for marketers?  Adapt to your target. Be responsive to time and place.  And stimulate them with brand positive messages and deeds. But most importantly, do it in support of a brand strategy — an organizing principle that marries what you do well with what customers want.



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At the Social Business Summit 2013 in NYC yesterday Brian Solis said many smart things. My favorite was, and I paraphrase, “It’s 2013 and we still haven’t figured out how to make a website look good.”  It tickled me because of all the marketing tools in the world, the website and the home page are two of the least effective, dumbed-down tools of all.  Were we to take a glass and pour in all our favorite colors – as we know from being kids – the color would turn brown.  Ninety percent of website home pages today are brown. Providing everything for everybody.

Mr. Solis also reminded us that every Google search done (and there are about 2 million search engine queries per minute) points to a what?  A web page. That’s a lot of brown.

And now most big time web designers and coders are worried about responsive design and how to get that brown to look good on all platforms: mobile, tablets, PCs, Macs, TVs and soon wrist watches.

In my opinon website home pages should look less like pretty tables of contents and more like what the brand stands for. Homepages need to be alive and real time. And they need to further the journey…and prove the journey. They should market. Let’s get rid of the all the brown.  Peace.


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