Where Did Our Customers Go?
July 10, 2013
Pew Research reports that a majority of Americans (56%) now own a smartphone and over a third of American adults 18 and older own a tablet computer like iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Google Nexus, or Kindle Fire.
Just that quick (*fingers snapping*) we see the shift away from desktops and laptops to tablets. IDC now predicts tablet shipments will exceed those of portable PCs this year and outpace the entire PC market, portables and desktops, by 2015.
What does this trend mean for web presence? It means that full-size web pages designed for desktops aren’t going to meet the needs or expectations of those with mobile devices.
Wired yearly makes a list of wired/tired/expired tech items. It gave a thumbs-down “tired” designation at the end of the year to ignoring mobile or not giving at the least a flavor of the mobile-friendly experience.
For anyone who has taken an “I’ll think about it later” posture: it is time to get serious about participating in the mobile space or risk getting sidelined. Nimble organizations meet customers where they can be found. But given how quickly the environment is changing, developing a mobile strategy is easier said than done.
Diving into the mobile world poses several challenging questions:
- How to drive revenue and business opportunities?
- How to take calculated risks within evolving technology?
- Where does mobility fit with business strategy?
As always, periods of rapid change present tremendous opportunities for those clever enough to see and the good judgment to act promptly.
Figuring out the master mobile plan genuinely takes thought and discussion. In the meantime, you can take some low risk, low cost steps to provide the growing multitude of mobile users with a good web experience.
Responsive Web Design
A recommended place to start (for smaller sites anyway) is to redesign the web site using responsive web design.
Mashable calls 2013 “The Year of Responsive Web Design.”
Responsive design is the magic potion of today. A web site based on responsive design fluidly rearranges and resizes the elements—images, columns, menus—to fit the screen size and resolution. In some implementations, it even detects the type of device and changes the site’s behavior, for example, enabling swiping on touch devices. Pretty. Cool. Stuff.
Try it yourself. If you are reading this post on something other than a tablet or smartphone, resize this window and watch the site reorganize itself “auto-magically.” Columns move or disappear altogether and you never have to scroll left to right.
The big benefit is that you build a web site once and it works across devices—smartphones, tablets, desktops, all sizes of monitors and browser windows.
The numbers are in. Resistance is futile. Go with the flow, at least put a toe in the water, or you may find yourself sidelined.
The right partner can make the difference between simply considering a mobile strategy and actually accomplishing it. Small, medium and large organizations can benefit from having a partner like Cii who lives and breathes the latest technology and understands the importance of working within budget.