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When It Comes to Recruitment and the Web, We Haven’t Even Reached Grade School

Written by Gregg Dourgarian

When It Comes to Recruitment and the Web, We Haven’t Even Reached Grade School
My post about mobile website myths last September drew some comments from some of the best staffing website designers out there including David Searns of Haley Marketing and Jason Lander of Staffing Robot. David pointed to an infographic his firm did on how mobile is changing staffing, and Jason showed off a mobile recruiting app he did for a client.

Business people – the suits – are taking an equal interest in mobile now that embryonic app companies like Snapchat have fetched and turned down billions in investment from grotesquely high-valued companies like Facebook.

Nevertheless, mobile technology can hardly be said to have reached puberty.  The chart above (courtesy Jason Brigsby with a hat tip to ShawnW on Pluralsight) shows that most mobile sites – sites which should be smaller than their desktop counterparts – are actually larger on average and often much larger. That makes them slow and unpleasant to use and led many people, including me, to emphasize installed mobile apps over their browser counterparts.

If I haven’t confused you yet with this discussion, just give me a chance because everything is changing again. Most notably, mobile first development platforms are maturing so rapidly that not only do they make mobile fast, they make the desktop experience better too.

We’ve reviewed a lot of them at TempWorks, and we’ve latched onto Bootstrap 3.0 for some apps we’re about to push out into beta. 3.0 gives a mobile-friendly, lighter, faster, cleaner, next-generation version of the popular Twitter Bootstrap framework, and it’s gotten a lot better especially with the release of stability update 3.03 last week. If the programming details don’t get you to check out that link, go there just to see the MC Young Bust a Move video (Totes my goats! They went cray cray).

Graceful Degradation vs. Progressive Enhancement
Most existing ‘mobile’ frameworks, including previous versions of Bootstrap, relied on graceful degradation, a process in which you designed first for the desktop and gradually added additional code that both slowed down the site and took away features like large graphics that don’t show or work so well in mobile.

In contrast, new frameworks rely on progressive enhancement. You design first for a great mobile experience, and you add code to make the experience richer as you move to higher resolutions like tablets and then desktops.

We’re still very early on when it comes to what mobile can do.  Forget adolescence, we’re not even in grade school yet.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. anon

    The real action in mobile recruiting lies in big data, social networks (owning and exploiting data) and not so much in frameworks. Bootstrap 3.0 may be a nice upgrade if you’re doing mobile development but in the end it is just a tool for techs.

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  2. gregg dourgarian

    Linkedin exemplifies what you’re talking about with big data. They figured out a way for people to give them their data (offered themselves up as product) and now use that data to get job board subscription fees.

    My friend Matt Charney wrote about that in this great ERE.net post http://www.ere.net/2013/08/13/rebranding-job-boards/

    Still, I see breakthrough technologies (mobile, bootstrap3.0) as great equalizers that allow smaller entities including startups get advantages on the web that their bigger competitors either paid tons of money to get or are unable to utilize because they’re stuck on archaic platforms.

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  3. David Searns

    Hi Gregg,

    First, thanks for the kind words. Second, I’m interested in your opinion about mobile first design. From the candidate perspective, it makes complete sense. We track analytics on more than 350 staffing websites, and mobile is exploding for web access on the candidate side, and smart phone centric functionality and interface design is the most logical starting point. It forces you design lighter, faster web experiences. But from the client side, mobile first may prove to be limiting or result in interfaces that are tedious to use. While you can certainly expand out to serve the desktop user, building off a mobile based design might result in an interface that is not really optimized for the HR manager sitting in his/her office (much like a responsive site that gracefully degrades isn’t always ideally for a smartphone based user). I think from the perspective of designing a basic website, the decision about which way to go is pretty easy to decide, but what about an application like Web Center, which provides significant functionality for the client and candidate. Do you still design mobile first?

    I look forward to seeing your perspective, and please sharing these thought provoking articles.

    David

    David Searns
    CEO
    Haley Marketing

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