Posted on January 30, 2015 by Daniel Chadwick
With Apple Inc posting their biggest ever sales quarter recently, it sparked a conversation in the Web-Feet office about tablets and where they fit into the mobile device space. This was as a result of iPads sales growth slowing significantly whilst smartphones sales, iPhone included, continue to rise quite sharply.
Aside from the argument of what a tablet actually does vs a PC or smartphone, we feel that smartphones and phablets, as larger smartphones are sometimes referred to, are increasingly becoming both cheap and capable. However, we feel that it’s also smart, responsive website design that’s also driving these changes in buying behaviour and phone use. A couple of years ago, many website owners were tempted into building mobile only versions of their websites, however with hi-res screens available, most users will switch to view the desktop site because the mobile sites were just too limited and not very engaging.
With a fully responsive design, a good website now optimises itself based on the users device, therefore optimising the user experience. As such the need for a ‘retina’ tablet for browsing the web isn’t necessary and users can stick to their primary device for browsing the web and still have a great user experience.
We feel that cheaper, smarter, faster phones will continue to drive their popularity and further marginalise tablets. If you know you can get a great browsing experience on your phone, your primary device, you are less likely to bother reaching for your tablet.
What this means for businesses however is twofold. Firstly, a good responsive website is a must or your users will have a poor experience and you will not be able to leverage your online presence to your best advantage, put bluntly, your users will just not visit your website. Secondly, Google now lists sites that are mobile friendly in their search pages on mobile devices and shows them as such in the search listings. This is useful information to users as they may well avoid even looking at a site that is not shown as mobile friendly. Furthermore, Google will actually penalise your site in it’s search engine rankings, or put another way, will list mobile friendly websites above those that aren’t. Eventually, non mobile friendly, non responsive sites will fall right down the search listing when carried out on a mobile device, this is a significant point bearing in mind how much traffic is now from mobile devices.