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Is Your Website Ready for Tablet Viewing?

John Waghorn

by John Waghorn on 9th March 2012

IpadThere is more and more talk these days about optimising your website for mobile search for smartphone and tablet devices. Whilst sites need to be optimised for desktop users and search engines, it’s important that other media aren’t being left out.

As more people are buying into tablet devices, we are beginning to see a shift in the way that we access our information. Some people buy into a product as soon as it is released and others buy into a product a later on in time when they have established that technology and changing habits will inevitably move on. However, it’s important that site owners aren’t getting left behind.

Innovators and laggards are the retrospective terms given to the early and late adaptors in the above example, something that Everett Rogers noted in his 1962 theory Diffusion of Innovations. So as new technologies come into play, this alters our own habits. These days, more people have Internet compatible phones and tablet devices than they did ten and even five years ago, but what does this mean for online businesses? Well, as people seek information on the move via a mobile and tablet devices there is more of a need for your own website to be noticed via these platforms in the search results. So, essentially the big question to think about is whether or not your website is ready for tablet viewing.

These devices have many functions and allow us to access news and find the nearest restaurants among a host of other options; however it’s shopping online that is one of the more common activities carried out in the UK via tablets. Interestingly through, according to analysis by SOMO reported in BizReport, only a small proportion of the IMRG/Hitwise Top 100 Online Retailers have websites that are optimised for tablet devices.

The statistics show that only 10% have created a website compatible for tablet browsing. In addition, only 26% of these sites have an iPad app, and less than 20% have made Android tablet apps. But what do these figures mean? Essentially this is a massive market that your business could be exploiting and a whole new avenue to direct traffic to your site; one that shouldn’t be missed.

However, it appears that we are in a transitional period whereby companies are still deciding whether or not to put financial backing forward to create apps and mobile and tablet visible sites. Hopefully we will start to see more companies taking this approach more seriously over the coming years as companies like Apple continue to develop the technology to make online shopping via tablets possible.

Given the fact that Apple have just launched of the third-generation iPad which will be hitting shelves in little over a week, it appears that the trend in buying tablet devices won’t be decreasing any time soon. To give you an indication of this, Hitwise have stated that 1 in every 2000 UK Internet searches last week were related to the iPad 3. This huge search volume is met with increasing demand for people to buy into tablet devices like the iPad. Consequently, there is a huge incentive for site owners to ensure that their pages are fully operational on these platforms; as it may well help you to generate more traffic, more conversions and greater profit. These trends also highlight that retailers still aren’t fully adapting to the changing habits of consumers when it comes to online shopping.

So what’s the value of having a site targeted for tablet devices?

Well, for businesses and especially those in the retail market, as the examples show, people can shop via the tablet site at home or on the move, compare prices and buy online. People no longer just sit at home and go on the computer to purchase products online, they are using a number of other devices to do their shopping. As this is becoming a habit that could potentially have dramatic effects on the desktop computer within the current decade, it’s important to get ahead of the pack and start optimising your site ready for tablet viewing. The consumers have already latched on to these changes and because of this your company should be doing the same thing. Failing to do so will only leave you further behind in the coming years.

Image Source

Touching Screen via BigStock

John Waghorn

John Waghorn

John works as a Content Marketing Executive at Koozai. With previous experience in PR, he helps the team by writing a range of client content including press releases, guest blog posts and website copy. He is also a regular contributor to the Koozai blog.


  • Dean Marsden

    Dean 14th March 2012

    Thanks for sharing these statistics John.

    Although desktop sites are more easily used on a tablet device than a smartphone as they stand, a fully tablet optimised website is not going to be a big task and will be incredibly rewarding for your visitors. For eCommerce sites this is even more important as tablet users tend to convert a lot higher than desktop users, sometimes by more than double!

    Some of the factors to consider when creating a tablet friendly website are:
    - using alternative technologies (flash isn’t widely supported and if you have fancy javascript make sure they work on a tablet device)
    - increasing button, link and text sizes so they are easily viewed and clicked via a users finger as opposed to a mouse pointer
    - reducing clutter by removing unnecessary elements that take up valuable screen space
    - be aware that your site can be viewed in both landscape and portrait so images and media should resize and easily fit these layouts

    Reply to this comment

  • John Waghorn

    John 15th March 2012

    Thanks for your thoughts Dean. I agree, the amount of work that you put in will ultimately pay off as we seem to once again be going through a technological transition. People access information in a number of different ways today, so I think you need to adapt early, or certainly as early as time permits, otherwise it’s harder to change further on down the line.

    It’s also about making the user experience as good as it can be. If a site isn’t engaging or easy to use on these devices then this will make the user turn their attention elsewhere and as a result you have lost them as a customer.

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