The importance of Smartphone friendly websites

Smartphone web sitesAs of the end of 2012, there were 83 million mobile phones in use in the United Kingdom, of these 60% are Smartphones!! That’s roughly 50 million smartphones.

Most of these 50 million people are using their phones for Social Networks, Youtube and email. 5 years ago most business mobile users would be carrying a Blackberry, popular because they easily (sic) integrated with their corporate email systems.

Now, with the advent of the iPhone and current explosion of Android handsets, businesses are now migrating away from Blackberry and moving into using business strength Smartphones.

The Smartphone is not really a new idea, they have been around in the form of a device that could surf the internet and had a colour screen since around 2002. At this time Microsoft quickly dominated the market with Windows Mobile devices. Some were PDA’s with phone capabilities and others with ‘candy bars’ with small screens. Most devices used ‘resistive’ touch screens which required pressure in the form of a stylus. Although useable, these devices attempted to bring a desktop experience to a tiny screen, coupled with poor data connection speeds and expensive data plans, surfing the internet was not really a serious proposition.

Since 2007 mobile internet use has literally exploded. Screens are now ‘capacitive’, which means you don’t have to apply pressure as they work from the electrical current your body generates. The screens themselves have got bigger, brighter and as high definition as your HD TV at home. Along with the hardward improvements, the software experience has become simple and intuitive, so much so that Windows 8 for PC’s actually takes the smartphone experience to the desktop!!! Full circle!

Along with these improvements, data speeds are now in some cases faster than home broadband connections, so finally we can surf on our phones and tablets quickly and simply.

So where does that leave your websites? Well, more and more of your potential customers are finding your website via the search engines, social networks and QR Codes. But what happens when they arrive on your site? Well one of four things is likely to happen:-

1) Your website is displayed in its original form, as intended on full size screen. It works, but it’s going to be difficult to navigate that text, buttons and links that have been miniaturised to fit on your screen. It looks ‘ok’, but could be better.

2) You have paid a company to provide you with a ‘mobile friendly’ microsite. This site scrapes your content from your main site, but it doesn’t always work AND you have paid twice AND you now have to manage TWO websites.

3) Your website was constructed some time ago and might not adhere to web standards. The result is bad publicity for your company as it simply fails to display anything worthwhile.

4) Your website was built using a ‘Responsive’ design. It gracefully and intelligently scales to fit whatever device it is opened on. All the information is there in a readable form. The search engines LOVE it because it adheres to all web standards and your potential customers will love it too. You spend less time maintaining the content, because you only have to do it in ONE place.

So, which solution is ideal? Well option 1 and 2 are going to do the job, but option 4 is what you should be aiming at.

If you would like to discuss making your website Responsive, give me a call on 01473 272002