The phone is king for internet browsing

It’s been a long time coming, but we are solidly in the mobile-first world. In 2019, Pew Research reported a large increase in the number of adults in the U.S. who use a smartphone as their primary device for accessing the internet. Surprisingly, the increase showed up in every age demographic. Depending on the age range of your target audience, a majority of website visitors are using a cellphone to check you out. And this change was logged before the pandemic!

“Mobile First” design has been a buzzword for a while, but now it seems more likely many visitors will ONLY see your website on mobile

I’ve included the chart Pew helpfully provided almost two years ago in their report in this post. You can read the rest, but some highlights include:

  • For 18-29 year-olds, a majority of users used their smartphones to browse the web more than any other device.
  • Even 15% of the over 65 crowd said the same thing.
  • And, again, that was before we were trapped in our homes doom-scrolling our way through most days.
A graph from Pew Research released in 2019 entitled "Americans of all ages increasingly likely to say they mostly go online using their smartphone."

What does that mean for your website?

If your website is not responsive — that is, if it doesn’t adjust its layout to fit different screen sizes and device types — then it needs to be ASAP. Until a few years ago, if your target audience was older adults in the US, you thought you were safe. Your users were likely to have a computer and prefer it over peering at a tiny phone screen. Now that assumption is plain wrong.

People targeting any demographic expect their websites will be viewed on mobile a lotWebsite visitors may see your mobile site, struggle with it briefly, and click off, never to be seen again. Even if your audience is not “mobile only,” mobile-mainly visitors may be as problematic for websites. 

Do a quick (or thorough) check

If you’ve been waiting to fix your mobile site, it’s time to make it happen. So how do you do that? 

I recently did a big blog post about website testing, so you might already know I’m going to say “Test it!” You should and you should consider having other users pull up your site on your various devices. Click the buttons and links. Look at how the navigation and images look. If everything looks pretty good to you, you may be able to keep going as you have. If you see real issues, trust that your potential clients have as well. You should perform a thorough round of testing, and/or . . .

 

Consider a full refresh and redesign

If you website isn’t responsive already, it’s probably been a long time since you did a major design and content update. Maybe you should take the chance to do that now. Yes, it takes time, energy, and money. But the new website will probably not just look better to your clients but fresh to you.

Let me draw a simple, maybe silly, analogy:  How do you feel when you buy a new coat or a pair of shoes? Your website is a big part of your public perception as much as a useful tool for outreach. A new coat or pair of shoes makes you look and feel more confident as much as it helps you get around town. Get that fresh-fashion feeling and take it into your strategy sessions and client meetings and marketing push. Who couldn’t use a little more energy to grow their organization’s outreach and engagement?

 

Talk to a professional

If you want a professional’s perspective, you know you can contact me any time. Or contact your preferred developer/designer. Don’t just sit with that feeling of guilt or shame; put your phone to work so you can fix it. It’s easier than ever to reach your users on mobile with that brand-new-coat energy.