In this digital age, we always look to the future of technology - where's it heading, what's trending, what new and fun devices are we going to get to drool over next. Saying that, I want to take a brief trip down memory lane to explain how, as an experienced website designer, I came to having a whole new perspective on browsing the web.
Let's jump back to April 2013. I'd been a website designer for just over ten years full time. I had a 9-5 gig and had played a hand in designing over 500 digital projects. I lived and breathed the web. You could say I lived on my iMac or Macbook Pro... the end... fullstop. Safe to say I knew the web like the back of my hand.
Enter Ruby. My little baby girl. Born in April 2013. Suddenly like all new mums I was up to my ears in poopy nappies. The cogs in my brain were rapidly grinding to a halt from sleep deprivation. Forget Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, Dr Google was suddenly my new hotness to hit. With barely two fingers free and not a second to spare I wanted to find information (umm help!) pronto. From Google if I happened upon a website which seemed like it may reveal the secret behind the mind boggling truth of how a vacuum cleaner will calm your screaming infant to sleep, I was there. However if once I got there the website wasn't mobile friendly, I was gone as quickly as I came.
So what am I really trying to say here? Well in a full time job and on leisurely child-free weekends most of my browsing was on desktop, laptop or tablet devices. My mobile was generally relegated to navigational duties in the car and settling debates like "Who was runner up to Boston Rob in Survivor Redemption Island?" at the pub. I'd preach to clients about the importance of having either a responsive website or dedicated mobile site but had never really lived the reality of being a hardcore mobile browser.
Why do I need to think about this I hear you say? Well lets consider some stats:
- 91% of all people on earth have a mobile phone
- 56% of people own a smart phone
- 50% of mobile phone users, use mobile as their primary Internet source
- 80% of time on mobile is spent inside apps (including browser apps)
- 72% of tablet owners purchase online from their tablets each week
These stats reveal quite a bit about our mobile habits and usage. Lots of people, spending lots of time on their phones and the internet. Sometimes you think you may know your audience, but can you every really be sure? Who is looking at your website and on what device? Always be open and considerate to the notion that your users may not exhibit the same browsing habits as you.
So it's good to think outside your own square, whether you're a website developer, a website owner or someone who works for someone else and manages or updates their website. Truly think about your audience and where they're most likely to stop and browse your website. Are they students killing time between lectures? Commuters fighting boredom on the bus to work? Stay at home mums with a nano-second of time and barely one hand free? Your audience is probably more mobile than you think.