When the Internet was first becoming common, you had to get on a landline to access it. Even sitting at a desktop, listening to that grating dial-up noise, knowing you were paying by the minute for slow speeds was enough to feel like we were living in the future.
Of course, over the past decade and change, Internet access has changed dramatically. Speeds have increased, we've mostly gone wireless, and it's even possible to get online via satellite reception. Perhaps the biggest change to the way we use the Internet, though, has been the devices we use to view it.
In the long ago and far away, desktop computers were the norm. While the occasional bulky laptop would be used to get online, both desktops and laptops displayed the same website. Then we started developing mobile technology. From smart phones to tablets, screens were no longer all roughly the same size. Which meant that websites had to either adapt, or miss out on the growing percentage of Internet traffic coming from these smaller, mobile devices.
That is the challenge many websites face today, and it is why the field of mobile responsive design exists.
According to Smart Insights, we passed the mobile tipping point several years ago. At some point in 2014, mobile devices surpassed the number of global users when compared to traditional desktop users. This translated to huge numbers, as more than 50 percent of all online traffic was coming from mobile devices like smart phones.
So, these days, not being a mobile-friendly site is like shooting your business in the foot. You can do it, and still limp along, but you're going to really wish you had both feet so you could keep up with all the traffic flying by out there.
That's where mobile responsive design comes into the picture. As technology has advanced, we've come up with all kinds of amazing ways to make our everyday devices more flexible than they were before. Mobile responsive design is a website that is smart enough to recognise the type of device that's accessing it, and to adjust itself properly. For instance, if it's being accessed on a traditional desktop or laptop, it will look one way. If it's being accessed on a mobile device, it will look a different way. It will fit itself to the screen, and to the expectations of the user.
Smartphone Users Expect to Be Catered To
The question is not whether a business should implement mobile responsive design. The question is how much does one stand to lose for not implementing that kind of design when it comes to their website?
Given that smart phones are growing more ubiquitous everyday, and that on average 61 percent of users will browse with their devices on a daily basis (according to Astutech), not taking mobile access into account is a huge misstep for a website. More importantly, though, being mobile-friendly is a metric used by Google to rank a site. Mobile-friendly sites are more likely to be regarded positively by users, and more likely to be shared by users on mobile devices. Given the strong correlation between smart phone ownership and social media use, that's only something that can work in a site's favour if it caters to the mobile crowd.
Most importantly, though, mobile devices are not going away. They've taken a huge bite out of the browsing market, and they've only increased their share since then. Ignoring the need to court mobile users is like someone rebuilding a home on a flood plain that washes away every spring like clockwork. Sure, you can do it, but why?
Watch our video on Mobile Responsive Website Design: 'Get Mobile or Get Lost'
For more information on mobile responsive website design, and how it can impact your business, simply contact us today!