Tag Archives: punky brewster

Looking At It Wrong

Ahh, the grocery business. We can learn a lot from the grocery channel about target audiences and merchandising. Visit your local grocery chain with a five-year-old, and you’ll be reminded of just how accomplished these retailers are at moving products. Turn your head for one second and that five-year-old will have something in his or her hand: a toy, candy, a coloring book. As you try to put the item back (while unsuccessfully trying to calm the screaming tyke as shoppers around you surreptitiously record video for social media), you will inevitably find yourself asking “where the heck did this come from anyway?” You'll look around for a few more minutes and finally give up, placing the item on any nearby shelf and hurriedly moving on. All parents and grandparents have been there. Interestingly, the reason you couldn’t see where the item came from wasn’t that you were looking in the wrong place.

You couldn’t see it because you were looking for it the wrong way.

If you had kneeled down, you would have quickly been reminded that the folks in grocery stores understand exactly where little hands can reach. That whole screaming kid thing? It was pretty much engineered by the retailer in the hope that you would cave in and let the child keep whatever it was that they grabbed (only to be lost into the cracks of the car seat on the ride home).

What does this have to do with {code} Roadies? It relates to web development because we are reminded of this phenomena every day with mobile devices. We code on desktops and laptops because they have big keyboards and the processing power to manipulate media, but the truth is that the number of users viewing websites on those devices is small and shrinking. As we develop sites, we constantly remind ourselves that while it’s important for sites to look good on desktop displays, it’s absolutely imperative that they look good on the latest mobile devices.

The same goes for you as you add content to your website via WordPress or any other CMS. If you’re reviewing your content only using your laptop at work, you’re looking at it the wrong way. It’s easy to be deceived by layouts and fonts and graphics when you are putting pages together on a 17-inch screen. I still struggle with old-school print concepts like orphans (the stray word kind, not the Punky Brewster kind) in emails. I feel compelled to fix them on my desktop display even though I know deep inside that the vast majority of users will be opening their email on their phone, completely changing how it looks. Even then, each unique device will display the content differently depending on screen size, resolution and even orientation.

Test your work in mobile. It’s the only way to make sure that your content looks good. And if your website isn’t optimized for mobile, stop reading this now and give {code} Roadies a call. Look at your site like your customers do, and you’ll be able to communicate with them a lot more effectively.