Category: E-Business

Responsively Transactional


Responsive DesignResponsive design is a hot topic for addressing mobile needs. A website utilizing this approach will adapt its layout dynamically to the screen size being used for viewing. In planning out how to provide this kind of adaptive experience, the complexity increases with secure transaction focused websites. There are five critical areas to consider that can differ significantly between public content driven and secure transaction focused websites.

Content Strategy

The first area is Content Strategy. On both sides, the focus is around making presentation succinct given the smaller screen real estate. However, for the public side, it is presentation of narrative content which can be trimmed down to its core message. That sort of challenge increases when dealing with data heavy workflows. How to focus those workflows and which should be available for mobile users become the primary questions.

Context is King

The next critical area is Context. In Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps, Josh Clark summarizes three context-related factors that help formulate mobile strategy. These three factors affect how or why a user will utilize a mobile website or application:

  1. Micro-tasking – using the device to accomplish quick tasks and activities
  2. Location – finding things close to the user based on their current location
  3. Entertainment – using the device to pass the time

While public mobile websites often involve a combination of all three factors, the primary motivation for secure site users is micro-tasking – viewing account balances, performing a purchase or sale, etc.

Navigation Simplicity

Simplification of Navigation is another critical area and an example of what sets public and secure strategy apart. With public, the focus is on stripping down navigation to the basics. There’s less need for multiple levels and trails given the succinct content. With a secure transactional website, there is a deeper need for helping the user understand where they are, where they are going and how to get back while performing transactions.

Collecting User Input

The fourth consideration is User Input. With public websites, user input is limited due to the focus on content. With secure, the user is presented with data points and entry fields that have to be displayed and collected. It’s not a choice. These are sensitive financial transactions. Therefore, making sure that the forms are set up as mobile input friendly is critical.

Visual Breakpoints

The last consideration is what is sometimes referred to as Visual Breakpoints. Breakpoints define the visual experience within certain ranges of screen-sizes. As screen sizes get smaller, layouts will adjust based on screen real estate. These breakpoints are relatively straight forward when dealing with content wrapping. Much more planning around breakpoint ranges and handling layouts is involved when addressing data and form heavy websites.


While these five factors are only part of defining your responsive mobile strategy, they are key considerations when building a secure transaction solution. Success depends upon understanding how transaction focused websites present different challenges than traditional public websites. What challenges are you finding when developing transaction focused responsive mobile websites?

Doug Billings

Doug Billings

Doug and his team are responsible for working with clients on strategy, usability and custom web solutions. Doug has over 16 years of project management, development, and usability experience as well as six years teaching experience at the college level. He has been with Boston Financial for 10 years. Doug’s previous experience includes roles at Fidelity Investments, IBM Global Services, and various Web startups. Doug holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and a Master of Science degree in computer information systems, both from Bentley University.

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