The future's bright. The future's mobile

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Late last year a significant shift took place in how we interact with technology and the internet. For the first time, more websites were viewed on mobile devices than on desktop and laptop computers.

In 2010 only 5% of pages were viewed on mobile devices. In 2013 it was less than 25%. But in October 2016, research company, Statcounter, said that 51.3% of the web pages it monitors were viewed on mobile devices, surpassing desktop and laptop computers for the first time. The majority of the pages viewed on mobile devices were viewed on smartphone (46.5%), the rest on tablet.

You might think that this piece of news is only of interest to tech-lovers, but you’d be wrong. It is a crucially important issue for any company with a website, particularly if that site isn’t ‘mobile’ – that is, designed using responsive web design so it can be viewed on mobile devices.

Isn’t a mobile website just your usual website but viewed on a smartphone or tablet?

No, but unfortunately that’s a misconception that’s all too common among companies. Consider the experience of using a desktop computer, with its large monitor, mouse to navigate, and keyboard to enter information. Compare that to using a mobile, with a much smaller screen, and no mouse or keyboard. If you expect a customer to view and use your large ‘all singing and dancing’ website on their smartphone screen, expect them to become frustrated and leave your site within seconds – probably never to return.

What makes mobile websites different?

A mobile website uses responsive web design to scale appropriately (what web designers call ‘rendering’) to your smartphone or tablet screen, or to your desktop or laptop display. It delivers the optimum, user-friendly experience for whatever technology you have.

If you’re viewing a mobile website on your smartphone, you’ll be served up larger fonts and streamlined menus and graphics that are easier to navigate and load in the smaller format. There may even be click-to-call features, so you can simply touch a number to call it, plus GPS features to help users to find your store or office.

 

There are more than 2 billion smartphone users worldwide.

Why the change?

In the UK, the desktop computer still accounts for the majority of web page views but the gap between desktop and mobile web use in this country is fast disappearing: PC sales are falling year on year. Meanwhile, the mobile web is hugely popular in developing countries like India. Today, a smartphone is the main, or only, computer for a growing number of people.

The march of the mobile can also be attributed to:

  • Growth and reliability of high-speed mobile networks
  • Ever-increasing power and capacity of smartphones
  • Increase in first time smartphone sales in emerging markets

What can we take from all this?

Today, billions of people – all of them consumers – have a powerful handheld computer in their pocket or bag. If you want to maximise the number of people able to access your products and services, you must have a mobile website.

If your website doesn’t use responsive web design, then you will lose customers and sales, not simply because of the poor experience they will have, but because they may not even be able to find your site. Yes, you guessed it – Google now ranks websites on their use of responsive web design, pushing them down page rankings if they’re not mobile-enabled. Oh, and they’ll also penalise your mobile website if it takes longer than a second or two to load.

Google now ranks websites on their use of responsive web design, pushing them down page rankings if they are not mobile-enabled.

Talk to the team at Blackwood

At Blackwood we only design client websites using responsive web design, and we’ve been doing it for some years. We also routinely use analytics to track the proportion of our client sites that are being viewed on mobile devices. Want to be sure that you’re reaching the right people in the right way? Get in touch today.

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