The UK has now officially become a nation addicted to tablets, and we’re not talking uppers, downers or prescription pills. No…the new legal high comes in a mobile friendly form with a screen.
Last year is being hailed by many technology analysts as the year that tablet computers became mainstream, as the latest range of touchscreen mobile devices hit the High Street and Online stores with a bang, crash and plenty of wallop.
Between 12 to 13 million tablet PCs were sold in the UK across 2013; an increase of more than 50% on the previous year’s sales (according to research company Deloitte). It has been predicated that by the end of January 2014 half of all UK citizens will either own or have access to a tablet.
Apple lost its position as top dog in the UK for the first time as tablets powered by Google’s Android software won 56% of the market across 2013. While Paul Lee, Head of Technology, Media & Telecoms Research at Deloitte, stated that smaller tablets, i.e. those with screen sizes smaller than 8.5 inches, will soon overtake sales of their bigger brothers.
With those sort of statistics there’s every possibility that you’ve already bought into the small screen revolution, whether you’ve gone for a top of the scale iPad, Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire, or pitched in at the budget end of the market with Tesco’s Hudl (300,000 of Tesco’s new “star buy” unit were sold in its first two months, following a much publicised launch).
Tablets are now widely acknowledged to be replacing traditional PCs for domestic users, and an increasing number of businesses are starting to make the switch too, as advances in technology, weight and battery life make them a compelling purchase (especially for business users “on the go”).
What’s the effect for businesses when it comes to their websites?
The simple answer is ease of use for future viewing, and the knock-on effect of not reacting to the new technology.
The big issue for businesses is how their website appears on the screens of the latest range of mobile devices. If you regularly view websites on your phone or tablet you’ll already know how frustrating it can be when you have to keep using forefinger and thumb to keep expanding or decreasing the screen size.
You may also have noticed a new trend amongst more savvy websites: some of which will ask if you’d like to switch to their mobile app, while others automatically adjust to the size of the screen you’re viewing the website on.
The latter application – where the screen automatically resizes to accommodate the screen size on your device – is termed “responsive web design”, and became one of the hottest trends across 2013.
What does responsive website design achieve?
If your website is adjusted or designed to be “responsive” each web page resizes according to the type of device it is being viewed on; removing the hassle and frustration when compared to websites that don’t incorporate this function.
To get an idea of how this works in practice, simply view the Create Design Studio website on different devices, ideally using a desktop PC, a laptop, a 10-inch tablet, a 7-inch tablet and a smartphone. You’ll soon see how the shape and presentation of the content adjusts to make viewing and navigation as easy as possible.
The design of responsive websites doesn’t mean you need 4 or 5 websites, each designed to cope with a different device. The software available to website designers allows us to design one website, which then adjusts to the appropriate screen size.
The good news for website owners is this means costs are not penal and your website should be able to be adjusted or redesigned within a reasonable budget.
Why is this important?
The staggering growth in tablet ownership, coupled with the increased use of smartphones to view websites, means it has become much more important to have a website that can be easily accessed and read, no matter which device it is being viewed on.
If you’re currently wearing your thumb and forefinger out because you’re constantly expanding the screen size on a website to read the content, how soon will it be before you decide to use an alternative website that saves you the hassle, by doing this automatically for you?
And once your website falls out of favour and is no longer bookmarked, it’s a short step to a fall in sales and having to make up lost ground to try and get those customers and website visitors back.
There’s another thing to think about too. The growth of tablets and their use can now be tracked as part of the information available on Google Analytics. So if you haven’t already checked which devices are being used to view your website, you may want to consider installing Google Analytics, or reviewing recent results to monitor where your visitors are accessing your website from.
You may be surprised at the results…and the expected trend is that more and more visitors are likely to find your website using a mobile device of some kind. When they complete that journey, you can’t afford to disappoint their expectations by having an “unresponsive website” in place.
Don’t delay, become responsive today
If your website is not currently “responsive” please get in touch to discuss options for adjusting or redesigning it. We can conduct a quick review to check the type of website you already have in place, and then let you know what’s needed to bring it up to spec.
The tablet revolution is already with us, so future-proof your website and your business now by contacting us on 01420 549637, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. for an initial assessment.