The GeorgiaGov Interactive team at GTA worked on an innovative enhancement to our website designs. As more and more website visitors are using mobile devices to access the web, it is important that our websites are designed to be easy to use from a mobile device. Our solution for the GeorgiaGov Platform websites is to convert your current site layout to a Responsive Design.
What is Responsive Design?
Read our Learning About Responsive Design Web Guide to learn more about this solution and why we chose it for our platform. And check out our GOVTalks: Mobile workshop videos and links, and The Mobile Moment blog to learn more about the necessity for mobile friendly websites.
Don't worry — your website will look exactly as it does now, with no content or theme changes made. This switch will only change the way your website's layout looks on a mobile and tablet device, creating a better user experience for your mobile traffic. And the backend will function exactly as it does now — no new training will be required.
Preview the Responsive Themes
Want to know what your site will look like?
Visit demo.georgia.gov and resize your browser screen to approximate tablet and mobile phone sizes. You will see the layout of the website move around, boxes stack on top of each other, and new "Menu" and "Search" buttons at the top right for tablet and mobile devices. This design determines the best layout depending on the screen size, and creates a better experience for mobile users.
Better yet, visit demo.georgia.gov on your personal phone and tablet to see the differences. Remember, your theme will remain exactly the same as it is now and might not match the Patriotic theme of our demo.georgia.gov website. But you can still see the differences with the layout in the mobile and tablet breakpoints.
What to Expect
Based on each agency's mobile analytics and needs, we have created a migration schedule for all of our sites. This will take place in 5 rounds, with each round being 4 weeks long. Before your website's round, 4-6 weeks before your migration deadline, you will be notified by your account manager with details regarding the process, deadlines, and any suggested changes to your content.
Changes to your content are not required.
Changing your website to the Responsive theme does not affect the content on your website. Each theme will look exactly as it does now, and no content will be touched by the switch. After an initial website audit at the beginning of the round , we will offer suggested content and image changes that would optimize your mobile user's experience on your website. You will have about 4 weeks to make these changes before your migration deadline. These will mostly be basic and straight-forward changes, and your account manager will be available to help with any questions you have during that process.
At the end of your round, we will switch your theme to the matching Responsive theme on a Friday afternoon. If you didn't have time to make the suggested content changes, don't worry! You can always make these changes after the switch.
We plan to sunset all Non-Responsive themes once we have finished our migration. We will coordinate with you as needed, and send reminders along the way before we switch your website. Because we plan to discontinue all of our Non-Responsive themes, all agencies will still be switched to the Responsive theme by the end of the migration project.
What should my content look like? Read our "Multi-Screen Resources from Google" blog for content tips on a mobile friendly website.
Why Should I Change?
Apart from adapting your website to the changes of new mobile technology, increased mobile users, and creating a better user experience for all, a great reason to embrace the new mobile movement is Google. On June 10, 2014, Google announced that they will lower search rankings for any sites that are NOT mobile friendly. Might sound crazy, but it's true.
Google doesn't like:
- Videos or content that don't render or play on all mobile devices.
- Pages and content not optimized for faster loading on mobile devices.
- Too many images/pictures.
Google does like:
- Using Responsive Design (our platform takes care of that for you!).
- Using a dynamic set of URLs with each URL serving a different HTML (or CSS) depending upon the device being used.
- Having a separate mobile website.
Check out the following links to read more about Google's new standards:
Below are resources and tools to help during your migration process. Your account manager will supply you with the necessary reports and audit 4-6 weeks before your migration deadline.
Round 1: June 2014
2013 Mobile Traffic 55-30%
Round 2: July 2014
2013 Mobile Traffic 30-20%
Round 3: August 2014
2013 Mobile Traffic 20-15%
Round 4: September 2014
2013 Mobile Traffic 15-12%
Round 5: October 2014
2013 Mobile Traffic 12-0%