Thanks to smart phones and tablets, the way people are connecting to services and destinations on the web is changing. More and more, mobile devices are becoming our default choice for connecting to the internet. People have come to think of the web as an essential part of their lives, not willing to live another day, even another moment, without being constantly connected.
The US population is sitting at around 311 million. Of those 311 million people, about half of US adults own a smartphone.
On top of that, for a whopping 28% of Americans, a mobile device is their primary way of accessing the Web… 87 Million people!
There are four times as many mobile phones as PCs worldwide, and that gap doesn’t show any signs of decreasing.
Virtually all phones on the market today are web-enabled.
Purchases made on mobile devices are expected to nearly double to $11.6 billion this year. By 2015, U.S. mobile sales are forecast to reach $31 billion.
This shift away from desktop to mobile requires web designers and marketers to refocus. Not necessarily away from desktop design, but certainly more towards mobile design. People are accessing content all the time on the go and that requires developers and publishers to think mobile first.
Here is the problem: the mobile web is pretty much like a box of chocolates, and most mobile websites are still sub-par. The current state of mobile browser support is abysmal. The variety of screen sizes, devices, user agents, and operating platforms is astounding. “Standards” are virtually non-existent.
In addition to that, there are many approaches to mobile design such as mobile apps, dedicated or responsive mobile websites, or simply no action at all. Each approach has its own pros and cons that affect the users experience of mobile access.
However, the users needs remain constant, and can be broken up into 4 layers:
First and foremost, users need to be able to access an experience. The most beautiful design in the world will accomplish nothing if people can’t view it.
Once the visitor is on the website, they need to be able to interact with the content and get around the website. Navigation, especially on mobile, should be like a good friend: there when you need it, but considerate enough to give you your space.
71% of mobile users expect mobile websites to load as fast, if not faster, than desktop websites, and 74% of mobile visitors will abandon a website if it takes more than 5 seconds to load. In other words, you have 5 seconds to get someone’s attention. Make it count.
Many mobile devices and browsers can do things that desktops cannot.
Though we use them for so many other things, mobile phones are of course, phones, and mobile browsers can initiate a call when the user clicks a phone number. Geolocation can also save steps when filling out forms, and it creates opportunities for innovative new features and interaction. The beauty of touchscreens is that they give users a way to interact directly with content, such as allowing users to swipe through photos in a gallery.
A lot goes into making a great mobile web experience. Viewing the mobile web as a wonderful journey and not as a destination is absolutely essential. As we step into the deep end of multi-device web design and marketing, we must strive to continually improve our websites and services in order to better serve our users — wherever they may be.
Courtesy of Big Splash Web Design and Marketing