Once upon a time all internet users were sat in front of a computer screen, usually a PC, using Microsoft Explorer to browse the web. How things have changed.
Where Website Usage Is Today
The range of devices we use to connect to the internet has fragmented. This is largely due to the massive increase of mobile phone use. Nowadays every body has a mobile phone and here in the UK the vast majority of people have a smart phone. Let’s look at some stats.
According to Smart insights 80% of internet users now own a smartphone. 91% would use their PC to search the internet, and 80% would use their smartphone. 47% would use a tablet. So you can see that where we used to think of the internet as something displayed behind a PC monitor, now we have to design equally for PC and smartphone usage.
It’s not just because the majority f our users want to use their smartphone to search for our content though – Google has recently announced that it is going to actively penalise websites which do not make themselves ‘mobile friendly’. You can read more about this at this great blog post by our neighbours Website Design Ltd. But the crux of it is that all those sites you visit on your phone that have tiny text and difficult to tap buttons are now going to plummet through the Google ratings. If you have a site that is not designed for mobile, now is the time to act. But what can you do to bring our site up to speed?
Mobile Website Design
There are two approaches for mobile website design The first is to design per platform – that is designing a special site that only appears when viewed on a mobile device. The problem here is that with each new device that appears on the market we need to consider again device shape and size. How many times have you visited a site on your tablet and realised it was designed to be viewed on a mobile phone? Massive icons and text can make these sites feel a little ‘toy town’. Not a good look.
The second approach is ‘responsive design’. Responsive sites adjust their content on a sliding scale, which means they will reproduce well on any device. They do not have different content for different size screens, rather they adjust the layout to fit. Usually these sites begin with the mobile device in mind and move on to ensure they look good on desktop as well. This has lead to this kind of design also being know as ‘mobile first’.
Applying a responsive design.
We recommend the all round approach of responsive design and have since the get-go supplied all of our sites with this in mind. But if you have a fixed design at the moment and want to change over to responsive there are a few things your web designer can do for you. Applying a new responsive template to your CMS site (WordPress or similar) may be a good avenue to explore. If you haven’t used a CMS system then things do tend to be a bit trickier, but if you need advice on getting your existing site converted then please do get in touch in the comments below.
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