‘The year of mobile’. How often have we heard that? Well, 2013 is shaping up to be a major year in terms of web access via mobile device and that has to be at the forefront of thinking for marketers, search types, retailers and pretty much anyone else that wants to make an impact online. This post looks at mobile solutions, gives opinions from experts and includes some handy mobile stats.

I’ve noticed a shift in web traffic

Last month, the operating system that sent the most traffic to this site (and my other blog – The Social Penguin Blog) was Windows. No real shock there. However, for the first time, iOS claimed the second spot. This means that iPhones and iPads are making up a huge percentage of the eyeballs that find their way to my site. Do you know if that is the case for your site? If so, is your site geared up to be easy to navigate and digest on all mobile devices (not just Apple based)? The Velocity Digital site uses responsive design (currently undergoing some tweaks!) in order to offer a valuable experience to mobile visitors.

I really struggled to find an appropriate image, so I drew one (badly).

What is responsive design?

I asked my pal, Dan Frydman of Inigo to sum up responsive design…

“Responsive design allows websites to scale from traditional desktop size to fit mobile devices.  Not all mobile device screens are the same dimensions – and we’re really talking about visible width here, not length – it’s important to allow scaling.  This is most important with the number of Android devices where handset manufacturers don’t settle on a standard size – and why should they?  

So providing a website to as many people as possible is about fitting with the user, not the user fitting with the provider. The responsive approach takes elements of a website and then shrinks them, stacks them into columns or just removes bits, to make the website more usable. Usability is the key here. A website that doesn’t display in the way a user expects won’t convert to a sale or a lead as well as a website that does. That’s true on desktop and equally true on mobiles”

I asked via Twitter if when people are accessing an online retailer via mobile whether they prefer an app, or a well-designed mobile site…

Granted there wasn’t a huge response (at time of publishing), however there is a definite sway towards mobile site. Concerns raised over having too many apps and those apps not having all of the required features are prominent. The lesson here is not to jump into an expensive app development when some clever responsive design could well do the job. For more on responsive design, I can recommend reading Implementing Responsive Design: Building Sites for an Anywhere, Everywhere Web (Voices That Matter). Click the link to look at the book on Amazon. Please note that is an affiliate link, meaning if you buy it via that link, I get a tiny little percentage of the cost of the book, without adding any extra cost to you. Transparency is key!

What about mobile stats?

These stats reflect the US of A, however they make for interesting reading none-the-less:

– US consumers still spend twice as much time online via desktop Vs mobile

– However, time spent on mobile is growing at 14 times the rate of desktop

– In June 2012, 27.4% of all web traffic in the US came from smart phones or tablets (20.3% from smartphones)

On a global scale, 10.3% of all web browsing was carried out via mobile (October 2012). This is the first time this has topped 10% and the figure may be higher as it doesn’t take into account app access. Thanks to emarketer.com for the stats.

So, should we be putting mobile at the top of our priority list for 2013?

I asked Sam Weston at Union  his thoughts on mobile moving forward… “Cohesive campaigns across multiple channels, where mobile is integral and not an afterthought, should be the focus area in 2013. Standalone apps and mobile sites will still hold traction, but the value of a truly integrated campaign should not be overlooked. Mobile usage is ever rising and diversifying, be it browsing the web, reading emails, social media usage or apps, the mobile web represents a massive opportunity to the tech-savvy business this year, next year and beyond.”

There you go folks, a look at mobile in 2013. Key takeaway – think mobile at all times.

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Mike McGrail

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