The state of the internet - Mobile Devices and Multi-Screen Compatibility

responsive websitesWay back in 2012 I wrote an article entitled "Why your website needs to mobile - right now!". This was outlining the shift, even then, towards mobile devices for people accessing the internet.

Fast forward to 2014 and this is now something that absolutely cannot be ignored. If you are not thinking about or providing a mobile / multi-screen compatible site your are LOSING BUSINESS EVERY DAY!

We are now seeing statistics across the board of mobile device access to websites hitting between 30% and 70%, yes 70% of all visitors to a site. This means if your site is not mobile compatible you could be putting off 7 out of 10 visitors to your site.

Mobile, Tablet, Multi-Screen?

Mobile compatibility requires more than just making your site work and look good on a mobile phone. There are so many devices that can now access the Internet, all with different size and shape screens, that your website needs to be adaptable and work on those screens. Just some of the devices include:

  • Standard mobile phones
  • Smart phones
  • Phablet
  • Tablet
  • Netbooks
  • Notebooks
  • Laptops

All of which come in a variety of shapes, sizes and screen sizes. Add to this the ability to rotate the screen, this presents double the screen sizes to support!

This is why the term multi-screen support rather than mobile or other terms is becoming increasingly popular as it better fits the challenge facing modern websites.

So what's the solution?

In the not too distant past the best solution was considered to have a "mobile optimised" site which would (often) be a completely separate site requiring an additional set of code and often slightly different content. Obviously this can be time consuming and expensive. Last year Google made it clear they felt this was not the way forward and publically supported "responsive" websites as the best way to support mobile and other devices. They also made it crystal clear that if your website is not mobile compatible it will be given a penalty in search results.

Responsive - the one website fits all solution

Responsive websites utilise a single set of code combined with sets of styling "rules" which are applied to the code dependent on what screen size is currently viewing the website.

For example; a website that has a main left hand column and a right hand sidebar may reformat itself on a mobile to have the main column fill the screen width and push the right sidebar underneath. You will also find navigation elements are reformatted into drop down lists or menus to provide easy access on a phone.

You can see a responsive site adapt to the screen width by resizing the browser width inwards to see the layout adapt and change to fit. Check out the Flow Interactive site if you want to have a play and see this in action.

Responsive websites provide the following benefits:

  • Single set of code
  • Adaptable style "rules" to fit main screen size ranges
  • No requirement to duplicate content, edit once to show on all devices
  • Provides facility to show and hide different content for different devices
  • Easier to maintain and update

Some critics of responsive websites argue that they are not really optimised for mobile users as you are asking them to download the full website and then hiding elements to those on mobile devices. Whilst this is true to some extent a well executed responsive website can only load those things required for the mobile users and load additional assets only for those that will use them.

So does this mean I have to make a whole new website?

Absolutely not! That is one of the benefits of responsive websites is that most modern sites that have been built to current standards can be adapted to become responsive. Most of the time all that is required is some design work to specify how it will look on different screen sizes and implementing the styling "rules" to make it happen. Obviously it's a little more complicated than that as there is a lot of testing involved but that's the essentials.

Can you really afford not to make your site responsive?

Just consider having a retail store and having between 3 and 7 out of every customer turning around and walking straight out the door again, it would be soul destroying. Well that is potentially what is happening on your website. Can you afford to have this happen as a business? If you would like to find out more about making your site responsive contact us today for a free no obligation chat and quote. Call 1300 77 3569 today.


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