Ophthalmology Business

SEPT 2013

Ophthalmology Business is focused on business topics relevant to the entrepreneurial ophthalmologist. It offers editorial, opinion, and practical tips for physicians running an ophthalmic practice. It is a companion publication of EyeWorld.

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elements to be used across a broad spectrum of devices and screen sizes, giving more users a positive mobile website experience, enforcing branding, and maintaining look and feel regardless of the web users' screen size or device. Ultimately, as with all quality websites, a responsive website design engages users and encourages interaction with the content on their own terms with the device of their choice. Why is it important? We want more. More web users are on more mobile internet-enabled devices more than ever before. Average monthly smartphone usage grew 81% in 2012. The number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world's population this year, and the Cisco VNI Mobile Forecast for 2013 predicts continued growth. A 2012 Google survey conducted by independent market research firms Sterling Research and SmithGeiger reported that 74% of respondents are more likely to return to a mobile website in the future if it is built in a mobile-friendly way, and 67% of mobile users say that they are more likely to buy a product or service when the site is mobilefriendly. The need for mobile websites cannot be understated. More web users are becoming multiscreen oriented, using a combination of TV, laptop, tablet, and smartphones sequentially or simultaneously. Another Google 2012 survey (Ipsos/Sterling) found that 90% of our daily media consumption revolves around interaction with various screens. An estimated 38% of our daily media interactions take place on smartphones, and 77% of TV viewers are using a smartphone or other device while watching programs. These findings have wide implications as to how we reach potential customers. And don't think that these statistics apply only to the younger end of the age spectrum. According to the Nielsen Connected Devices Study (Q2/2012), 36% of people age 35–54 and 44% of 55- to 64-year-old respondents use their tablets while watching TV. These trends point to the need to reach consumers in the way they are consuming media by adopting multiscreen marketing campaigns that optimize and coordinate mobile efforts. Optimizing your website to accommodate the changing landscape should be a part of any ongoing marketing or education. In the past, a popular solution to the mobile website problem has been to create a mobile-specific website that directs users on a mobile device or particular screen size to a completely separate mobile optimized website. Unfortunately, this method greatly complicates website maintenance and give rise to a number of issues that must be addressed. Mobile device users often find themselves directed to the full version of the website and a less-than-satisfactory experience. In other cases, the mobile website duplicates existing web content that must be maintained separately from the full website. Duplicated content can negatively impact search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. A responsive website resolves these issues by providing a single set of content and maintaining a similar complementary look and feel. Search engine optimization, an important component of any modern website, benefits from the use of a single set of content. When the content of a page on your "full" website and the content of the page on the mobile site are the same, analytics yield a much clearer picture of usage and interaction with the site, regardless of the device used to access it and screen size. Why is NOW the time? Timing can make the difference between success and failure. The term "responsive design" has been around since 2010, and the social media outlet Mashable has declared 2013 as the year of responsive web design. Even so, responsive websites have not been widely adopted. The primary factor in slowing the large-scale adoption of responsive design revolved around available technology and usability across the most common platforms and web browsing software. Newer technology makes this less of an issue. Developers have created frameworks and systems around these new ways of design and thinking. Another good indication that a specific technology has "arrived" is its adoption by major vendors for their own websites. Within the past year, Sony, Starbucks, and Microsoft have all adopted responsive websites for their online presence. Responsive websites are not the only answer to the number of issues emerging in website mobility and design. Technology will continue to evolve and change. At this point in time, responsive website design technology represents an important tool for meeting mobile goals, creating positive user experience, and reaching customers across the growing sea of internet-enabled devices. OB Mr. Gallagher is an information technology & web services consultant at Medical Consulting Group, Springfield, Mo. He can be contacted at bgallagher@medcgroup.com. Mr. Rabourn is the founder and managing principal of Medical Consulting Group, Springfield, Mo. He is a member of ASOA. He can be contacted at bill@medcgroup.com.  September 2013 • Ophthalmology Business eZine 13

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