In August of 2014, it was reported by comScore that more people were browsing the internet on a mobile device than on a desktop or laptop computer. As of April 2015, comScore Media Metrix estimates that more than 65% of internet searches are being performed on mobile devices. And on April 21, 2015, Google announced that their search algorithm update would, “boost mobile search rankings for pages that are legible and usable on mobile devices.”
What this means for at least 40% of website owners is their sites will be suppressed in Google searches.
ZingMap won’t allow that to happen to any of its clients.
Even before Google’s move, there were plenty of compelling reasons to have a responsive web design or a mobile website. To begin, if your message is primarily text, you can’t have that appear on a four-inch screen in any sort of legible format without zooming—a very large inconvenience for most. Further, the mobile interface is much different than a desktop or laptop interface. A trackpad or mouse provides much finer interface control compared to one’s thumb or index finger. And certain actions that can be performed quite easily on the desktop or laptop become challenging, if not impossible, on a mobile device.
With the popularity of such mobile internet devices, and Apple’s iOs operating system rejecting technologies such as Flash, web designers and developers are required to think dynamically about how websites look, feel, and function.
At the same time, it’s paramount to remember that since desktop versus mobile have very different interfaces, it may be more important to have a completely different objective when designing for mobile than not. For example: If you’re a restaurant, you may want to focus your desktop/laptop experience on reading menus and showing features of your establishment. Conversely, if someone comes to your website on a phone, they’re either making up their mind what restaurant to choose and to find your location. So using a webpage focused on making a reservation and having a map becomes much more important than your menu.
Responsive Versus Mobile Websites
Have you ever visited a website on your mobile phone and found that the website address changed from “www.company.com” to “m.company.com” or “i.company.com”? That happens when a website has a very specific design and function just for the mobile visitor.
When you visit any webpage on the internet, you’re sending a bit of data to the website from your device. It tells the website what operating system you’re using (Windows, Mac, iOs, Android, Linux, etc.), what kind of computer or device you’re on (mobile, desktop), and where you are (your internet address, or sometimes even GPS information). Today’s internet is powered such that this data can tailor the user experience. If you want greater control over what your visitors experience on a mobile device, creating a separate experience just for those visitors helps a lot. It’s a little more time and tech consuming, but for the customized experience, it works really well.
For those who would prefer to have as consistent an experience across devices, the responsive approach is preferred. Basically, a “responsive website” is one which is able to—on the fly—scale photos, videos, and text depending on the resolution and orientation of a screen. Holding a smart phone in a vertical orientation provides a long, skinny viewing area, whereas a large desktop monitor is rather wide. Thus, content on the vertical phone will tend to stack—changing from having three columns to one long column of content, for example.
Whether responsive or mobile, one or the other is necessary in order to accommodate the massive amount of mobile searches being performed on the internet today and in the future.