Why 2014 Is the Year That You Must Make Your Website “Mobile / Tablet Ready”.
2013 was the year responsive design exploded. But is your site mobile ready yet? If not 2014 is the year you must make your website mobile ready.
One of the main differences between browsing the Internet using phones or tablets compare to desktops or laptops is the screen size. Screens of mobiles / tablets are much smaller than desktops and laptops.
To make websites fit to the screens; mobile browsers minimize the websites size. Making fonts and icons difficult to read and tap respectively.
This is the way that all websites, other than mobile / tablet ready, work. You’ve likely experienced these kinds of websites before on your smart phone. They are usually hard to work with.
What does “mobile ready” mean?
Mobile ready refers to optimising or creating a version of the website which suits for mobile phones. Avoiding the need to zoom, as content and user interface is designed for smaller screens and displayed at readable and usable sizes.
Three important points reveal why making a website mobile / tablet ready is important:
1. People often use their phones to connect to internet.
In 2013, an investigation showed that, nearly three quarters of British adults (73%), were using Internet everyday, with 6 out of every 10 were using either a smartphone / e-book reader (64%) or a portable computer to access the Internet ‘on the go’.
2. Smartphones, compared to PCs and tablets, contribute the biggest portion of the sales.
A published article by The Telegraph, estimates that the sales proportion of smartphones, which over the last 2 years has been more than twice of the tablets and PCs, will be constantly growing in 2014.
In 2013, 65.17% of the market was belonged to smartphones. While tablets and PCs contributed 14.61% and 20.22% respectively.
For 2014, the percentage for smartphones has been expected to rise to 67.97%. Simultaneously, tablets will experience increase-reaching 15.34% and PCs will face a decrease of 3.53%. In another word, more than 2.1 billion of mobile phones and tablets will be sold in 2014.
3. Many of your competitors have appreciated the matter of mobile / tablet ready sites and are using it, why not you?
It has been a few years since some big names such as Google, Facebook and Amazon have decided to adopt a method called “Mobile First Approach”. It means that, they first, provide a mobile version of their sites and then create a desktop version if needed.
Over the last few years, Mobile First Approach has been more popular. Now days, thousands of small and medium sized companies such as Lookout Security, RunKeeper, appMobi etc have adopted this method.
It has been estimated that, if your competitors are using mobile ready websites, while you are continuing to avoid it, you will be missing more than 23% (based on two random websites) of your prospective customers.
All of the above-mentioned points, emphasise the importance of making your own website mobile / tablet ready.
If it was 2010 I would say, making your site mobile / tablet ready is a really sophisticated way to make your business stand out. However we are in 2014, when having a mobile / tablet ready site is a must rather than an option.
What are your options for making your website mobile / tablet Ready?
As a website owner you have three choices to make your website mobile / tablet ready:
1. Responsive Design
The term “responsive design” first introduced by Ethan Marcotte in 2010.
Responsive design adapts the layout, to the viewing environment. Simply, the positions of the elements on the web page change, based on the screen size. Commonly they re-stack elements underneath of each other.
For example, imagine that you have a website with three columns for desktop version.
If the site is responsive, viewing the same page on smartphones will look something like this:
Responsive design approach is recommended for smaller websites or the websites that their design stage has not been completed yet.
2. Mobile Site
Mobile sites are uniquely designed for small screens such as mobiles and tablets. Therefore, when you access this type of website by smartphone, the server detects that you are using a smartphone and redirects you to the mobile version of the site.
In terms of graphic and page layout, mobile sites are usually independent on the desktop version of the related site.
A good example of the mobile site is Facebook, when you access Facebook on your mobile’s browser, the Facebook server, automatically redirects you from http://facebook.com to http://m.facebook.com.
One of the main advantages of mobile site approach is the flexibility of the design. Your mobile site is completely different and separate to your desktop version. This means you are able to optimise your mobile site, and even for different smartphones and operating systems by detecting the user’s smart phone brand and redirecting them to the correspondent web address. For example, if the user uses an iPhone to access your website, the site design will be based on the Apple standards, likewise if they use an Android phone, the Android standards will be automatically adopted.
3- Native mobile / tablet App
With this approach a native mobile app is developed for a specific operating system, which is downloadable from the relevant App Stores by your clients.
One of the top advantages of using this approach is the power behind the native apps developments. You can have many features and services that are neither possible nor recommended to be applied in mobile site or responsive design.
Explaining the differences between a native app and a web app is beyond the scope of this article, but it is worth saying that, using a native mobile app, could be a good approach for you to get a mobile ready for your business.
What is the best approach?
In general, there is no one best approach. Since many factors are involved to deciding the best solution for you, your aims and objectives.
Here at Design By Day we provide you a free consultation to help you to choose the best approach for your business. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0161 2282686