Recently one of our clients received an email with the subject line: "I noticed a problem with your mobile website."
Mobile Web Traffic Doubling
What we've noticed is that many of our clients websites have doubled their mobile traffic from 2011 to 2012, then doubled their mobile traffic again from 2012 to 2013. We're getting to the point where we're talking ~22% of web traffic is coming through the phone or the tablet on some sites. That's a huge shift. Though 22% is on the higher side of what we've seen, the doubling effect is consistent across most clients.
For many reasons, we like to compare Google Analytics data for a time period from one year to the same period the year before. Based on the industry, we feel we need to get an apples-to-apples comparison. Even then other factors need to be taken into consideration. For instance, a heavy equipment rental company might conduct business similarly from year to year in the spring, but if they received a lot of rain one year compared to the other, certainly the numbers will be skewed.
I'm not positive, but I don't think that the guy who wrote the email about the problem with my clients website was really able to scare anyone. I guess for those of you without a web vendor to turn to it might have been cause for alarm. I'm not sure. Maybe that marketing tactic works for some.
A Website Only Lasts Two Years
I'll be honest; we need to shift the way we do business - yet again. We can't expect a website to last 5-6 years like it did in the past. Ironically proposals we wrote 2 years ago had a completely different spin on mobile browsing. Two years ago we did look at the browser and the sites we created in that time frame, proudly still work well. Or should I say they work as intended. I think that's a better explanation.
Fred Needs Responsive Web Fingers
I remember meeting with a particular client approximately 2 years ago. I remember that our client had an iPad. I remember discussing how cool it was. I remember that when the site launched we made sure it looked good on the iPad and the iPhone. They still do. But, I'm calling the latest phenomenon - the Fred Flintstone effect. I have big fingers just like my childhood idol Fred. With people like Fred using the phone to surf the web - all of us really - we need bigger buttons and scrolling information. Our phone design comps are weird looking. They consist of a long skinny tower with big buttons.
Responsive Web Design
What we need these days is a website that is responsive. The phrase 'responsive design' is the latest buzz, but as phone web access increases, it's something we need to address. What responsive means is that your site will respond differently based on the size of your display. If it's on a small device like a mobile phone it will display differently than if it's on your desktop.