Karen: Yeah. I think part of the root of it is that there’s this ethos that we really all try to evangelize in the mobile space which is you should serve the same stuff to every platform.
You should aim content parody where you aren’t thinking of mobile and desktop is being completely different silos, completely different experiences. Your goal, first and foremost, should be to get all of the same stuff onto every platform.
You could see how a client, a decision maker could reasonably say, “Oh, OK. We’re supposed to serve the same stuff to every platform. Well, we’ll just take what we have and we’ll try to serve it on mobile.”
You need to explain, “Well, yes, you should serve the same stuff but it can’t be exactly what you have on the desktop right now. Your going to have to go through and evaluate whether it’s any good.”
“You are going to need to assess whether, what’s a page? The container of a page is likely to be different on desktop versus mobile or on a larger screen size versus a smaller screen size.”
If your thinking about going responsive, you probably need to strike a balance between those two form factors and do something different than what you might do for either one, if you were thinking of each on in isolation.
You might need to develop alternative forms of some chunks of content. The shorter headline example is one that I use a lot. You might need additional little summaries for pages that can serve for navigation, or other cues that help people to know what’s going to happen when they tap.
You might even need to think about how you present content. What’s the right form factor in which to present content? One example that people always give me is, “Well, what if the whole point of this page is this comparison chart, a big product comparison chart. That’s why the user is coming to the page?”
I’m like, “Well, the point of the page isn’t the table. The point of the page is that the user wants to compare two products or something that might be presented as a sizing chart, in a tabular format, on the desktop.
A tabular format might be the best presentation on a large screen size, but that doesn’t mean that the user’s goal is to look at a table. It means that the user’s goal is to say, “Will these pants fit me?” Or, “Which of these two products meets my needs?”
You might need to come up with a completely different separate presentation or interaction model on a smaller screen size. You have the same content and the sizing chart is not going to change.
The product comparison is not going to change but on a smaller screen size, maybe you need to turn it into some kind of Q & A wizard format, or drop down, or you have to find different visual and physical techniques to communicate the same information.