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The importance of being mobile

23 March 2015

Mobile is the fastest-growing component of the internet, as we are often reminded. This isn't just hyperbole, though: there is much truth in the rising importance of mobile devices. The evidence can be seen in the number of smartphones and tablets visible in every corner café.

Rapid developments in portable hardware and broadband technology have made it essential to treat mobile devices as first-rate clients. In the past, it was acceptable for websites to offer just a desktop version, but this is no longer the case.

Given the need to address an increasingly tech-savvy populace, it is paramount that a website's mobile experience be flawless. In practical terms, this means it's not sufficient merely to re-arrange the content to fit on a smaller screen. One must exploit the inherent advantages of mobile (like portability and location-tracking) and transform them into key differentiators.

Not to say that responsive design is not important; quite the opposite, in fact. A responsive website overcomes the need for a separate mobile-only version in most cases. But it is crucial to take into account the specific usage patterns of mobile browsers. What users are looking for is access to information in just a few clicks, limited scrolling, and site search. Get it right and they will thank you for it.

 

Photo credit: Florian Klauer