Most business websites have been planned for viewing on a desktop or laptop browser. We often put a great deal of care into doing this. But, as of the end of 2012, do you really know how many of your potential clients see your site that way?
Everything was tiny; the flash video didn't work; the headlines were hard to read. He was really surprised, and knew immediately this problem had to be fixed. How about you? Do you know where your clients are when they are searching?
So many people were busy giving and receiving all the latest new tablets, smartphones and other digital devices last month. Now what do you think they will do with them? Shopping, checking, researching, sharing . . . all those things we thought they did on computers. How about your clients?
66% of smartphone users "pre-shop" on their smartphones, according to the Pew Internet Report. And one-third of adult shoppers do it in the stores!
Then 37% decide not to buy and 19% leave stores to go purchase it online instead. But only 37% of retailers have a mobile website compatible with mobile browsers! Too bad for all the others.
What about the younger consumers, those with lower incomes, recent immigrants? 62% of people age 18-24 own a smartphone. 80% of their new phone purchases are smartphones. 42% go online primarily on their phones, not a desktop. The trend is moving away from desktop domination. If your clients are younger, that's not the way to reach them. And now tablets of all types and sizes are more affordable, work on wifi without a cell phone account, and provide the world at lower cost to those who cannot afford a broadband account at home. Think about how this applies to your consumer audience.
As you reflect on what the end of 2012 and the new proliferation of devices on the market will do for consumers here and across the U.S., play this out in terms of the likely uses your potential clients will make of their new toys. The newest trends in website design simply drop the desktop browser focus for content developed, designed and coded not just for smartphones but for all flavors and sizes of devices.
I know you've heard "mobile sites" were the next big thing. Folks, the population doesn't like them because they contain only partial site content. Think for a moment about these younger users for whom the desktop is not an option. Most people "go to full site" almost automatically on the phones because their desired information is not provided on those skimpy sites intended for just a few uses. People who can afford only one device are not serviced by a stripped down site.
Designing flexible sites for all sizes of tablets and devices is the way to go. This is the website future. This is called "Responsive" design and "Adaptive" design, buzz words in the web community. Please investigate these options before you proceed to put time or money into mobile phone sites or desktop websites. If this is where we are in the end of 2012, think what our habits will be in 2013 and plan to be there too.
Pepper Oldziey is a web designer and corporate web strategist. View her website designs on www.peppergraphics.com. Talk with her about the newest strategies, and how simple it is to make your web content a good fit for all devices.