Jyske Bank is the largest Danish bank headquartered outside Copenhagen. Sometimes they do things a little differently. When they recently re-launched their web presence they managed to introduce responsive web design; a new and useful web design standard.
One of the major benefits is that responsive web design moves the focus away from technology and onto making a more useful site for the users. In a nutshell, responsive web design adapts the content and design of the website to any device, regardless of whether it is a desktop computer, a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone.
This means Jyske Bank no longer needs to create a specific mobile-friendly website or any other different edition for other devices. Just one website and it adapts to everything. This fits well with the underlying motto that the Jyske Bank web team posted on the wall and used for this massive 2011 project:
Build the site you can manage!
I had a conversation with their user experience designer Claus Stadel Petersen and online strategist Gorm Ruge to learn more and take a look behind the scenes.
From idea to reality
The initial driver for the Jyske Bank website re-launch was the introduction of a new technical platform. As in other organisations, the communication team wanted to use this as an opportunity to update content and improve the interface.
At Jyske Bank, they also took a closer look at the growth in website traffic coming from mobile devices. Despite having no dedicated mobile website and a desktop site that did not work well on mobile devices, traffic coming from mobile devices was still growing rapidly. The Jyske Bank team considering developing dedicated mobile sites.
The downside to a bigger and better mobile site is additional maintenance and potential disappointment among customers, which would only get a watered down version of the desktop site. Jyske Bank decided this was not good enough and started looking for a better way.
When they heard about responsive web design in the spring of 2011, they immediately liked the idea. A decision was made to opt for this and the actual development work started right away.
After the summer holidays the initial pages using responsive web design went live starting with the home banking info pages, contact pages and search. More content areas were subsequently launched iteratively. The prominent frontpage came in early December and the missing pieces are being rolled out in the coming months.
According to the team at Jyske Bank, it is difficult to get an estimate on the additional upfront design and development costs that come with responsive web design. It might be up to 20% more expensive due to the additional time required for cascading style sheets and markup, but in their view it makes good sense in the longer term where time and money is saved by not having to crank out additional templates for each device.