Consider these 3 facts:
< In 2011, for the first time, smartphone and tablet shipments exceed those of desktop and notebook shipments. [source]
< Daily time spent in mobile apps now surpasses desktop and mobile web consumption.
< Mobile web usage is doubling every year and is predicted exceed desktop usage by 2014 [source]
What does this mean?
The online community is going mobile. In as little as 2 years, more people will see your website on a smartphone or tablet than on a large screen desktop (if they still own one). Windows wants to give us a production-capable tablet environment this fall with Windows 8 Metro, and we’ll be keeping an eye on business desktop use. Tim Cook of Apple CEO recently said, “We are now in a post-PC world”. The verdict is not out yet, but the signs are on the wall.
The bad news is: this creates a HUGE segmentation of screen sizes and web experiences. The good news is: At least we can define 3 experiences: smartphone, tablet and desktop.
Is your website “responsive” to everyone?
For developers, it’s vital to consider website widths that range from 440 pixels to 960+ pixels. If your website was built with a fixed width of 960+ pixels, it’s going to leave your mobile visitor with ALOT of pinching, scrolling and zooming to just read the text. From experience, it’s not enjoyable. So your potential client a) doesn’t mind the suffering, b) switches to their desktop, or c) leaves in frustration. We don’t want to make websites that frustrate anyone.
It’s likely your current website is too big for the small screen. But don’t feel cheated. The trend over the past decade has been to increase the size of websites to accommodate for higher resolution screens; smartphones and tablet usage is NOW large enough to seriously consider.
What do you do?
1. If your site was custom built “from scratch” without a CMS platform, we recommend consultation with a knowledgeable web developer to see if modifications can be made to bring your website to mobile.
2. If you are using WordPress, there’s a turn-key solution. Several plugins exist that can create a mobile version, regardless of what theme you started with. It will look more like a ‘mobile application’ than your website, but the important objective is readability of content.
Might i suggest:
If you have another CMS platform such as joomla or drupal, they have mobile adaptive plugins as well.
3. If you are in the market for a website or want a fresh start on your old one, seriously consider a “RESPONSIVE” design. Make sure your developer is familiar with this future buzzword! A responsive website adapts like a chameleon across all platforms. You can be assured of the same look and feel no matter where your visitors come from. One design will fit a vast majority of desktops/tablets/smartphone browsers, driven by CSS. To see responsive design in action, you’ve come to the right place.
If you’re here on a desktop, grab the right edge of your browser and shorten the width of it. Notice how the content automatically adjusts, assuring that you don’t have to scroll left or right… or zoom in or out… Nice, eh?
We beseech thee: Grab a smartphone, grab a tablet and look at your website. Get a feel for your website’s mobile experience. If you do not have access to a phone or tablet, there are a few close emulators online.
Remember to be “responsive” to your clients and customers!
BONUS TIP: Do you still have Macromedia Flash on your website? Remove or replace it with HTML5 immediately if not sooner. iPhones and iPads ignore it; Android support for Flash will be gone in a year. If you use Flash for any navigation elements, your website has been rendered mobile-useless. You have been warned!