Yesterday we launched our new website, which is a mini landmark for WebDepend coming at the same time as our 3 year anniversary of the formation of WebDepend.

Back in January 2010 we had a much more basic website, using Wordpress as a content management system/blog. We still use Wordpress but now with more modern methods, namely HTML5 and CSS3, compatible with newer web browsers and backwards compatible to IE8, anything older and the site won't look great.

Normally, we would be worried about compatibility with IE7 but as market share for IE7 has now dropped below 1% it is not so much of a concern.

Next, our new site has a responsive design. That is, the layout of the pages will adapt or respond to the type of device you are viewing the site on. For instance, a smartphone naturally has a smaller screen and so the website displays in a narrow single column layout with a reduced menu in the form of a dropdown list of menu items, which makes it much easier for a mobile user to browse and navigate through the site.

Android 4 screenshot

A responsive design may also have elements that are designed for touch screens such as items that you can swipe and larger buttons or links that are easier to tap.

In the case of the WebDepend website, we have a slider that you can swipe on the homepage plus the recent projects and recent blog posts areas also swipe. Then, in the projects section there are project slides for each project that can be swiped.

iPad 2 screenshot

We have also tried to make sure that buttons and navigation elements can be easily accessed by those using touch screens.

Of course, testing a responsive site means checking it across several devices to make sure the website is responsive in the way you expect it be.

We tested on a Windows desktop, iPad and Android phone at the same time to check all the layouts and different responsive elements. We then backed that testing up with further testing on an iPhone plus the usual set of web browsers that we test in. These include IE8, IE9, IE10 Preview, Firefox (17 and 18), Chrome (23) and Safari 6.

The testing was mostly successful although we did find a few areas for improvement where further responsive elements would be useful for different types of user. We also decided to remove the breadcrumbs, as this navigational aid was not particularly helpful in its current form. We'll reintroduce the breadcrumbs once we have them working properly.

We have a series of updates to the site planned to improve the responsive design further plus a few other items. Having our own responsive site reinforces what we already know and the experience we already have regarding these types of sites and this helps us to understand what makes a great user experience.

Hope you like the new website and if you have any feedback then please let me know in the comments.

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