According to the most recent Tablet Technology and Markets report from Futuresource Consulting, global sales of tablets surpassed 64 million units in 2011 and are projected to increase to 232 million units in 2016. This implies a 200 percent growth in sales. Not only are sales rising, but the Adobe Digital Index report predicts that tablets will produce more web traffic than smartphones by early 2013.
Most people identify tablets with the Apple iPad, but these days it’s so much more than that. To name a few, there’s also the Amazon Kindle, Google Nexus, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy, BlackBerry Playbook, and Sony Tablet.
Although most consumers are unwilling replace their computer entirely with a tablet, many see the device as an important addition. In 2011, tablets accounted for 10 percent of total mobile app downloads and it is projected that by 2016 they will account for nearly 20 percent. The Futuresource report also mentions that tablet owners tend to be media savvy.
So what does this mean for your business?
In short, the era of creating websites exclusively for desktops or laptops is over. Business websites must be revamped for both smartphone and tablets. Tablets and smartphones present a unique opportunity for business owners to develop mobile compatible websites in addition to their existing desktop versions. Mobile users want do the same things that desktop users do, but the content needs to be presented in a compatible way. Businesses must make sure as many people as possible can access their content.
Although some tablets and smartphones have sophisticated browsers that allow them to view full websites in miniature versions, most mobile viewports are too narrow to accommodate a desktop-based layout. Not only could viewing capabilities be affected, but if the page weight of a standard website is too large it may lead longer loading times. Longer loading times will lead to more people pressing the ‘back’ button before seeing your content. In addition, there are many features that smartphones and tablet devices cannot support.
In summary, mobile browsing is not a passing trend. Tablet use is increasing at an exponential rate and it’s not going to stop anytime soon. If a business decides against creating a mobile alternative for their website, they can be assured to expect user frustration and the possibility to lose potential consumers.