My clients are different...

Responsive web design logo

I have heard that a lot from my web design clients through the years.  From how their users will navigate a website differently, trust me. My clients can be trusted and we won’t need that extra security step. But recently it seems to be regarding their perceived mobile audience.  If you think “your clients are different”, and a mobile presence is unnecessary, just stop and think about how many people you know in your business and personal life right now that don’t own a smartphone or tablet ? 

Go ahead, I’ll wait. 

I’m guessing that number is a lot closer to 0 than you thought ?

Now there are some websites that quite honestly don’t need to be concerned about a mobile or responsive web design.  If your site functions internally and is set up with nofollows to keep search engines out and only authorized visitors from gaining access, then you may not need a mobile version of your site.  But then again, if it is used often enough on mobile devices, even internally, easy navigation and usability are always going to save you time and frustration.  Or perhaps your business marketing is not focused on your web presence and additional expenses would provide no increased ROI.

No one solution is going to fit everyone’s website needs, but I’m guessing most of you don’t fall in to the above two categories.  If you don’t, then you had better pay attention to these numbers.

Cell phones are now being used by 91% of adults, according to a survey conducted between April 17 and May 19 of 2,252 adults.  In this same survey, they found that 56% of American adults have smartphones.

The phrase "shop by phone" or my favorite “couch commerce”, took on new meaning in 2012, with U.S. consumer spending via mobile devices nearly doubling over 2011 levels.  Shoppers used their smartphones and tablets to make $25 billion in purchases last year, an increase of 81% over the previous year, according to data released today by top marketing researchers.  The researchers estimate that mobile devices accounted for 11% of e-commerce sales last year and expect that number to increase to 15% in 2013.  Overall consumers spent $42.3 billion online during the November-December holiday shopping season, a 14% increase over 2011. 

Did that include you ?

Last year researchers found that 17% of cell owners do most of their browsing on their phone, rather than a computer and also noted that 25% of teens fall into that category. Those numbers are only going to increase.

If you think your site is fine because you can double-tap it to zoom in or zoom out, pinch it and spread it to resize the view, or swipe from side to side, ask yourself this question ? 

Doesn’t your hand look like a spider doing a tap dance on a glass floor ?  It does.

And then there’s these:

  • You found the page you wanted, but the navigation bar won’t retract and I can’t read some of the content ?

  • Your trying to find a link in the navigation banner and somehow found yourself in the footer ?
  • You tried to select a page link and suddenly find yourself opening a PDF file ?

Maybe your clients are different, but if you’re wrong, playing catch up could take longer than you think.  More and more sites are adapting to an easy to use, responsive layout that will address any size mobile device now and in the future. 

And did I mention Google likes it.  That’s because users like it.  And the more users get used to it, the less tolerant they will be of websites that read like this.

Iphone eye test


And trust me, it won’t take long for them to tire of the “spider tap dance” as well.