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).
- Review the tasks that users want to perform on Device A. (If you don’t know these, get researching.) List them in priority order.
- Repeat for Device B.
- 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.