The web is continuously evolving, for all sorts of reasons; the power of computing devices and the sophistication of web browsers among them. But probably the main stimulus to change in the last few years has been the increasing use of mobile technology. While mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets can be every bit as powerful as desktop machines, their form factor means that what displays well on a desktop, may not work so well on a mobile; and if your website has been stuck with the same old design for several years, it may not take this into account. An upgrade will bring your designs up to date, refresh its features and most importantly, make it responsive to the platform the visitor is using. For mobile, the most rapidly growing area of the search market, this can involve everything from the size and colour of text to the way images are used and the way links work.
The common solution a few years ago was to build a separate, replicated mobile site (usually beginning with the ‘m.’ prefix at the start rather than ‘www.’). This was often a stripped-down version of the website that would be light on images, owing to small screen sizes and a lack of functionality on devices at the time. But as the technology has improved, and the screens have got bigger, so has the demand for more functional sites for mobile. With responsive design, this is now absolutely possible.
Approaching a responsive design is one that adapts to the size of the device. Elements are built in blocks that can move fluidly around – so when a screen gets narrower rows and columns of text and images stack on top of one another.
Why is mobile important? Well, there is a tonne of data out there – here’s a small sample:
- Nearly 60% of time consumers spend online is on mobile devices.
- 70% of mobile searches lead to action on a website within one hour
- The data is growing: it’s estimated that between 2013 and 2019, mobile data traffic will grow by 10x.
To summarise, if your website isn’t optimised for mobile users, you will be losing out on potential customers. Research shows that if a mobile user can’t view a particular website, he will move on quickly to one which conforms better to his platform of choice. If that’s the website of your competitor, you will have lost a customer simply because your website hasn’t developed with the evolution of the mobile market.