When Joe Lovell and I recently spent a few days investigating and testing mobile websites, one of the things we weren't expecting to discover was just how few websites cater specifically for tablets. Neither of us are what you might call 'heavy' tablet users. Our critique of the sites we saw happened without expectation of what a tablet browsing experience should, or shouldn't be. Doubtless many tablet users are used to navigating full desktop sites on a small screen, but we were not. This probably made us a little more critical than most, but I think justifiably so in light of the collective sigh of relief breathed when we encounterd a site actually designed to work on a tablet!
This apparent lack of investment in tablet-specific design is all the more surprising given the current surge in tablet sales.
Here at Auros, we like to think we know a little bit about digital. The trouble with digital, however, is that the goalposts keep moving, the digital landscape is ever changing, and if you don’t keep up, you’ll be left behind. Despite these all being horrific clichés, they are true, and the latest trend has seen a steady increase in mobile and tablet traffic across all of our clients' sites. You can track how ‘mobile’ your audience has become using our interactive chart. This trend coincides with a huge increase in smartphone usage, and shows no signs of slowing down. We have stumbled across some astounding stats that show just how commonplace mobile browsing is becoming, including:
Due to the increasing popularity of smartphones and tablet computers in recent years, more and more people are accessing the web using mobile devices and expecting an experience as polished and usable as the desktop experience. As a result, it is now more important than ever that web designers, developers and user experience experts take into account these users when creating their websites. This can be achieved by creating a single responsive site or distinct desktop and mobile sites.
And when something is developed, it needs to be tested! A recent project at Auros included mobile-specific versions of a client’s main, desktop website.
The Auros test department had the task of testing both versions of the site. Typically, we test on the most popular desktop browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and so on. This includes different versions of a browser e.g. IE9, IE8 and IE7.