Mobile is the future - should you go responsive?
By Marion Hirtzig - Head of Digital Marketing.
Raise your hand if you have a smartphone you regularly use to access the Internet.
Or a tablet? Or both?
You maybe even access the Internet on both devices at the same time? I must admit I'm guilty as charged! Smartphones and tablets are now part of our daily lives and an increasing number of people use them daily to browse the Internet. And when the world changes, it’s important to change with it, especially if you want to attract customers.
Increase in Mobile traffic
We’re certainly not the only ones out there to have noticed a large increase in traffic from mobile devices, which became particularly noticeable this summer for most of our clients. Some of our clients already receive over 50% of traffic from mobile phones and tablets. Although the average is generally 30% and closer to 40-45 for e-commerce websites. It is interesting also to note that the device used is different depending on the type of website visited: online shops tend to register more tablets than smartphones; this is particularly true for one particular client who receive 3 times more traffic from tablets than from mobile phones. It does make sense to use a bigger screen when you want to browse products and pictures of products.
Make sure you’re ready for mobile traffic
With such an increase in mobile traffic, it makes sense to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. I personally realised that I use my laptop to go on the Internet when I can’t use my phone or tablet, because the website is rubbish (let’s face it, some are really awful) or when I know I’m going to use several tabs and browse different websites at the same time. I don’t find multi-tasking or “multi-browsing” I should say, very enjoyable on mobiles and tablets. Also, I’ll go back to my laptop if the Internet connection is too slow, and websites take too long to load. Sound familiar to you?
Responsive, Dynamic Serving and Apps
Whatever your method, going mobile isn’t optional anymore. There are 3 major ways to become mobile-friendly: you can either make your website itself mobile-friendly through responsive design or dynamic serving, or you can create an App. Finding out more about your target audience and what you want visitors to achieve will help you decide what to do. If you’re not too sure about what responsive, dynamic or apps are used for, here is a quick, simplified guide:
This is our favourite type of web design, and Google’s recommended configuration. Responsive design means that a website adapts to fit the available screen size, no matter what device you use: no matter the size of your screen, whether you minimise the size of your browser window on a desktop or browse with a tablet, the website is designed to go along with it. That definitely requires more work than a basic website, but it is much more rewarding and gives your customers a great browsing experience, no matter whether they use a small or big laptop, a PC, a tablet or a smartphone.
It is hard for a lay person to see much of a difference between responsive and dynamic, but basically dynamic serving means that when the server of a website detects that you are browsing on a mobile it redirects you automatically to a mobile version of the website, in the same way you sometimes get redirected to a UK or US version of a website depending on where you live. If you adopt dynamic serving please make sure you don’t blanket redirect to the Home page! One day when I was looking for a recipe and clicked on an interesting link, I was asked whether I wanted to go to the US or UK version of the website. I don’t know what I answered but I ended up on the home page. I honestly didn’t care whether I was on the UK or US version of the website, all I wanted was to see that recipe. No need to say I didn’t stay! I also think it should be the same when you go on a website that is translated (not translated via Google Translation), you should be redirected to the same page in the language you choose, not to the Home page. So please be careful if you use dynamic serving to keep in mind the user experience.
Creating an App is a totally different concept but it is worth noting, as there are so many Apps nowadays. An App can be pretty good when you want to access only specific options and don’t need all the information given on a website. Transport Apps are pretty handy when you want to know when your next train is arriving, or want to check an itinerary. Same for cinemas, if you just want to know the timetable for a movie or see what movies are showing at your cinema. So depending on what service you’re offering, an app can be a good solution. Customers don’t need to log in and enter passwords every time they connect to an app like they do on a website, and they can more easily come back even with a slow Internet connection.
The major drawback is that you need people to download your app, which means that your brand awareness needs to be high enough so customers know about it and/or your services need to be attractive enough for people to find your app and download it on their device.
Get started now!
When retailer John Lewis says they’re expecting a ‘mobile Christmas’ with a majority of traffic coming from mobile devices, and when they add that 78% of their fashion sales are already done from a smartphone or a tablet, you know it is high time to get the ball rolling and become mobile-friendly. With so many potential clients out there wishing to have a great shopping experience this Christmas, if you are an e-commerce website, the best Christmas present you can give yourself and your clients is to become mobile-friendly. And if you want help to do so, our web developers are at your service, all you need to do is contact us.