To say that smartphones are popular is like saying oxygen is essential for life–it’s a massive understatement. Still, many businesses tend to overlook the significance of the mobile market. It’s pretty easy to simply look at the app and gaming side of smartphone use, and completely miss that the majority of smartphone users utilize mobile technology to access the Internet, often without the use of an app.
According to a recent story by AllThingsD.com, mobile devices account for upwards of 20 percent of web traffic. This means companies need to take a serious look at their approach to mobile web development.
Mobile site usage: the numbers
If one-fifth of all web users are on their smartphones or tablets, it would be foolish to only develop for desktop and laptop computers. As tablet PCs become more and more popular, the reality of mobile web expansion on a global level becomes more important than ever to understand.
On the tablet side of things, Apple’s iPad is the clear winner in the web traffic category. In the United States, the iPad accounts for nearly 95 percent of all tablet web traffic. It’s also important to resist focusing on number of sales. While Android-based smartphones lead the way in sheer sales volume, Apple’s iPhone still leads the way in overall web traffic with a 72 percent market share.
Mobile site vs mobile app development
This data shouldn’t be overwhelming. Rather, it should give you a clearer picture for how to approach mobile site design and user outreach. This necessitates asking the question, “What type of mobile development should your company focus on?” The short answer is both. Each platform has a lot to offer, and you’d be selling yourself short to simply focus on one platform and abandon the other.
- Mobile App Development – It’s hard to ignore the app factor because today’s smartphone users load their devices with useful apps. This is where paying attention to smartphone sales and app downloads comes in handy. A smartphone app version of your site can and must create an experience where the end user can benefit in a meaningful way. This is where you have legroom to include features and deals not available on your site.
- Mobile Site Development – This is a tricky but necessary component of mobile web outreach. Essentially, your site’s mobile version must offer all the features your site does. I don’t have to tell you that there are obstacles to achieving this type of site design. On a smartphone, screens are smaller, the touchscreen environment is finicky at times, and users are much more demanding and impatient – they often require faster load times on the mobile version of your site. This means optimizing the mobile version of your site with smaller file sizes, high resolution on a small screen and eliminating flash for your users.
Mobile is the future of the Internet
In the world of mobile development, top analysts say that mobile web usage is expected to surpass, and maybe even replace desktop-based Internet surfing. While this idea may have been laughable five years ago, this prediction is coming true right before our eyes. It’s time for today’s businesses to embrace the future and reach out to the most active segment of Internet users in the history of the web.