The Rise and Rise of Mobile Devices Posted by: Kenny S on 13/06/2011
Mobile web access was predicted by Morgan Stanley to overtake desktop web access in 2015 but it seems things are moving much faster, as early as 2013 according to some.
Are you ready for the smaller screen? More importantly, is your website ready?
Will mobile web access overtake desktop?
It's an interesting thought. Last year Morgan Stanley predicted it would happen in 2015. It seemed an ambitious trend but when you weigh up the last three years developments - keypad to touch screen, 2G to ubiquitous broadband and 0 apps to 350,000 apps on the Appstore - it didn't sound so farfetched after all.
Gartner had a more aggressive prediction indicating that the mobile web will overtake the desktop pc as the most common device used for web access by 2013. In their report, Gartner suggested that the combined installed base of mobile devices (feature phones and smartphones not netbooks or laptops) will exceed 1.82 billion units by 2013. This is ahead of the projected 1.78 billion total for desktop and laptop PCs.
Let's assume it's somewhere in the middle. In fact there a great infographic from Microsoft Tag which puts the date at 2014. It shows you, in an easily digestible form how many people have smart phones, and who's getting involved in mobile social.
Extracts from mobile marketing infographic from Microsoft Tag. It shows mobile browsing overtaking desktop browsing by 2014.
Size of the mobile market from the Microsoft Tag infographic
We could talk about stats all day but actually you only have to look around you. The popularity of mobile is going from strength to strength. Mobile browsing suits people's lifestyles. No one wants to be chained to a desk all day and it's often when you're out and about that you need to find something out.
The real question is: what are you doing about it?
Gartner's report cautioned that many businesses websites still aren't optimized for the mobile web, despite mobile phone users saying that they expect to make 'fewer clicks' when accessing a site from their phone.
There is no space for burying your head. When it comes to future proofing your digital communications, you've got to be on web, social and mobile platforms. And, for mobile web in particular, it means re-considering how your content will appear to users accessing your site on typical smartphone dimensions or on new formats like the Apple iPad.
Mobile apps or mobile web?
Can't it be both? Of course, but as unique as mobile apps may be, there isn't always a business case or budget to develop across so many mobile app platforms. It's often more appropriate, easier and more cost effective to use mobile web to reach your audience. Mobile web is important for other reasons too. Most (made-for-desktop) websites are hard to navigate on smartphone screens since the resolutions are entirely different. The context for users is very different too.
Optimising your website for smartphone and tablet browsers should be a high priority for most companies. Mobile is growing at a phenomenal rate and many businesses are only now just realising that their website, their content is not optimized for the smaller-screen formats.
Careful planning and user experience design is important to ensuring that your audience gets the most out of their interaction with you using their preferred browsing device. That's what it's all about. But to be effective you need to think about how they use these devices and understand the potential as well as the limitations of the different platforms.
In a recent project for North Lanarkshire Council we developed a web site and a mobile website. More than 50% of their audience doesn't have home access to PC or Broadband web, however, the majority own a smartphone. Therefore, extending their website and content management system (CMS) to both desktop web and mobile web has significantly improved access to an essential online service.
The eLament website was optimised for viewing on the smaller screen.
It's an exciting time for digital. Users have a great deal of choice and its really people on the street who are defining these trends and choosing the platforms and tools that suit their lifestyles.
We work hard for all our clients to create effective integrated web, social and mobile sites that work across every channel. Why not drop us an email if you want to talk this over?
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