The gradient chart

Here’s a little tool I’ve found useful when deciding whether to build a responsive site or a separate site for different devices (eg a mdot smartphone site to accompany a ‘full’ site).

  1. Review the tasks that users want to perform on Device A. (If you don’t know these, get researching.) List them in priority order.
  2. Repeat for Device B.
  3. Put the two lists next to each other, and draw lines connecting identical tasks.

Then look at the diagram you just made.

If the connecting lines have shallow gradients – ie the tasks have similar priority on both devices – you have a good candidate for a responsive solution.

If the lines have steep gradients, the user needs on each device differ strongly. This is probably a better candidate for a separate site.

I call this a gradient chart. It’s pretty obvious, but it’s a nice technique for visualising something that can otherwise feel abstract. You can obviously extend the tool by doing a unique gradient chart for each persona, and so on.