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July 09, 2013 The importance of responsive design for job boards Tracy Godding, Head of Research

The importance of responsive design for job boards

The way in which we search the web is changing; there is a clear move towards multi device search journeys which is becoming ever more prominent as we reach the halfway point of 2013. Last year tablet consumption doubled in the UK and Germany, with Christmas seeing a huge tablet boom thanks to the introduction of more affordable devices, coupled with the advancement in smartphone and 3G technology, search habits are beginning to see a fundamental change.

These changes are causing the lines between desktop and mobile devices to blur. The latest studies show us not only is smartphone internet usage increasing on the move, but there is also significant internet consumption coming from Wi-Fi connections within the home. In comparison the original tablet predictions told us users would utilise these devices on the move, in a similar way to a smart phone. However the latest usage statistics prove that tablet devices are used mostly from a home Wi-Fi connection, in a way that is more comparable to traditional desktop use. As ownership of these devices increases we are seeing ‘typical device behaviours’ merge, in turn increasing user’s expectations of website performance.

A consistent experience across all devices has now become paramount to user experience. Mobile users are not expecting the same experience from a smartphone or tablet as they would from a desktop; meaning a recognizable site, with easy navigation and a fast loading time is now an average requirement of a mobile user. In fact one study showed that mobile users were five times more likely to abort a task altogether if a website took too long to load.

So how do we fulfil these requirements?

Responsive design meets the demand for a unity in experience across devices, by providing one malleable site across all devices. A responsive site will respond differently when viewed on different devices, allowing users to consume content across any device at any time, in the easiest way. Loading times are decreased, there are less touch screen ‘issues’ and most importantly it improves SEO.

The design type even has Google’s backing; by eliminating the need for different versions of your site to be contained on different URL’s not only is loading time sped up, but also your visibility to search engines is improved. Matt Cutts Google’s very own Head of Search Quality recommends responsive design as the best way to interact with Google’s crawlers, “By encouraging developers to create one cogent web experience that adapts to the platform, Google is likely able to preserve many of its link algorithms and — to a certain degree — avoid the daunting burden of attempting to evaluate mobile and desktop versions as separate entities.” Responsive design works with search engines as a tool to bind the search experiences together, aiming to ultimately eliminate the thinking that there are different search journeys for different devices.

So what does this mean for job seekers?

The search for a new role is increasingly becoming a multi device journey, with 68% of jobseekers stating that they use their mobile within their job hunt at least once a week. The importance of a smooth and cohesive experience across all devices is vital to user experience best practice.

For the job seeker the ability to search on the move provides them the chance to utilise all of their time, job searching is no longer a task that time needs to be set aside for. It is now available wherever you are, in whatever free time is available. Therefore, keeping the user journey between mobile and desktop devices consistent not only improves the ability of job seekers to manage their time effectively, but also provides a better user experience and a less frustrating job search.

Most significantly one in four job seekers stated that they would not apply for a role if a company’s site was not mobile optimised. It is becoming increasingly clear that the way a site first appears to a user is affecting the persons overall relationship with that company. Responsive design improves user experience which in turn has an effect on brand awareness and a user’s decision to return to a site, the ability for one site to serve all devices will therefore improve the relationship between the job seeker and the job board.

What are Madgex doing?

Madgex believe in the importance of harnessing responsive design to enhance the user experience across all of our job boards. We have embarked on the huge task of developing our product to include a responsive design which we hope to have ready by 2014. Those attending our Innovation event in London next week will be some of the first people to see first-hand our prototype responsive site, demonstrated by our very own design team.

“The design team has been working on a prototype of a responsive version of our main job board product for the last few months. We’ve been able to look in detail at how all our pages will work in a responsive grid and come up with solutions to any issues we have found. The prototype has now been through a round of user testing and tweaks have been made accordingly from the key findings of that process. We’re going to be presenting that work at next week’s innovation event and look forward to getting your feedback” – Nik White, Digital Design Director, Madgex

Madgex will be unveiling our new responsive design job board at our latest Future Innovations event which takes place on July 17th in London. If you are a Madgex client and would like to attend then please visit our event page for more information.