Responsive design and creating conversions for a manufacturing website: A case study

Ben
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How often do you think about O-Rings? Unless you’re manufacturing medical devices, locomotive engines or aerospace components in your basement, probably not very often. This is no surprise — O-Rings aren’t especially sexy. You’re not going to see them on the runway in Paris. Vanity Fair isn’t running a tribute to the joys of sealing anytime soon.

Rubber O-Rings and seals, however, can be the difference between success and failure in countless industrial and mechanical applications that keep us healthy, moving and safe. The precise cut of the perfect rubber compound, sometimes as small as eight-thousandth of an inch or as large as 41 feet, can be the bulwark between a product that works exactly as planned or a disaster.

 Who is Apple Rubber?

While you may not think about O-Rings very often, these versatile components are on our mind all of the time. Apple Rubber — one of the leading seal and sealing device designers and manufacturers in the United States — is one of our clients. Quinlan is a Buffalo, New York advertising agency and Apple Rubber is located in nearby Lancaster, New York.  We’ve been fortunate enough to work with the company for several years.

Our team has handled everything from Apple Rubber’s print ads in trade publications to the design of its trade show booths to the management of its digital content marketing and video production needs.  We’re always looking for ways to get Apple Rubber’s outstanding products into the hands of project managers and engineers in dozens of countries around the world.

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When the time came to build a new website for Apple Rubber, we used our expertise in responsive web design to build Apple Rubber an online home that would support organic search results, improve the mobile experience and promote user conversions.

“When execute properly, responsive design can dramatically improve all key metrics of a website,” says Ryan DiMillo, Quinlan’s vice president of operations. “By providing a higher level of technical customization that caters to both users on multiple devices and the best practices of search engine optimization, we can promote conversions and organic search ranking.”

 We achieved each of our goals. Here’s how.

Apple Rubber.com and responsive web design: A Case Study

The situation. Prior to the redesign, Apple Rubber’s website, AppleRubber.com, was robust enough to support an extensive seal design guide used throughout the industry; two blogs; extensive product and service pages; numerous forms to request engineering support, pricing options and product samples; and a bevy of online engineering tools. Traffic was steady and organic search traffic was strong.

 So what was the problem? The lack of responsive web design made AppleRubber.com a chore to view or use on any device besides a desktop computer. The look and layout of the site and its otherwise outstanding tools and guides were dated. New content offerings like ebooks, whitepapers, email newsletters and improved blog content were difficult to access intuitively. The processes for user information capture and movement into the sales conversion funnel were ripe for improvement.

The solution. Pursuing a mobile-first strategy, the Quinlan design team made responsive web design a priority.

A quick refresher for anyone a little gray of web design responsiveness — “Responsive websites respond to their environments,” explains John Polacek, a Chicago web developer, noting that the responsive site design uses multiple fluid grid layouts to ensure that pages look good in any device. Quinlan developer Drew Celestino has a nice post with five tips for responsive development on the Quinlan Ideas blog that is worth perusing.

“Day by day, the number of devices, platforms and browsers that need to work with your site grows,” says Jeffrey Veen of True Ventures. “Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift in how we’ll build websites for decades to come.”

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Additionally, on-site engineering tools and guide were redesigned for simplicity and accessibility. Quinlan’s designers emphasized  specific areas of the site based on user frequency. Video and illustration played important roles as our team combined live action with custom animation to allow users to consume complex product information in a simplified and entertaining manner.

The results. When the redesigned website was launched in Q4 2015, Apple Rubber immediately enjoyed substantial, across-the-board improvements. The website provided a 17% increase in conversion rates and a 40% improvement in average page load time. Email signups have increased exponentially. Since the relaunch, sessions and users are up nearly 20%, pageviews have increased by 7% and the bounce rate is down by a whopping 88% over the previous time period.

Even more notable: mobile sessions are up by over 1,000% since the redesign went live. And — fortunately — AppleRubber.com beat the April 21 “Mobilegeddon” deadline when Google changed the format for its organic search rankings in mobile, penalizing sites that did not have a device-appropriate site for use outside of the desktop.

“Responsive web design is focused around providing an intuitive and gratifying experience for everyone,” noted British developer Shay Howe writes. “Desktop computer and cell phone users alike benefit from responsive websites.” As do, we found, rubber seal manufacturers and their clientele.

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 Conclusion

We live in a world in which business professionals — from CEOs to scientists — expect clean, seamless online experiences regardless of the device being used. All tools and features are expected to be available. Communication with a business partner is expected to be easy. Access to information is  expected to be fast and intuitive. Make me work, and you’re running a very real risk of losing my business.

Our relationship with Apple Rubber is special: the company is, in a very real sense, our neighbor. The success of this manufacturing facility impacts not only Quinlan as an agency but Western New York as a whole. When our design work helps Apple Rubber attract more visitors, funnel its traffic more successfully and convert more customers, then we’re not simply writing a success story for a client: we are helping the entire region. Every job is bigger than just a job.

 

If your business needs help, advice or guidance with responsive web design, please feel free to contact Quinlan online or by calling (716) 691-6200.

 

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