Throughout 2013, web design companies were increasingly focused on the idea of responsive design - a brilliant solution of percentages and media queries that enable websites to adapt to varying screen sizes with fluid movements, rather than building multiple frameworks to try and deal with the constantly expanding list of display formats.
But the shift in users from traditional desktop machine to smartphones and tablets means other things for web designers besides screen size.
Although Wi-Fi is increasingly widespread, and 4G is being rolled out across many cities in the UK, we all know it’s rarely that simple. Passwords are changed, routers fail and you can never find that elusive signal when you really need it. All of this means that page load times should be kept to a minimum. This is good practice anyway, but when users are being charged for data that is appearing so slowly on their screens it’s triggering dial-up flashbacks, every second counts.
Where good design is good business
While good design keeps the aesthetes happy, it’s just as key for businesses. M-commerce has been a growth sector during recent years, accounting for around a quarter of all online sales in 2013, and when it comes to online sales, the customer is always right now.
This has been clearly shown by an increase in bounce rates to correspond with an increase in m-commerce sales. In 2010 when desktops accounted for 97% of online sales, the bounce rate was around 20%, these days it’s more than 26%, demonstrating that people don’t have the patience when browsing on mobile than they do with a desktop.
The growth of M-Commerce
Recently the news headlines have started to show signs of cautious optimism when it comes to the British economy, but it’s the figures for online sales that should really interest SMEs and retail outlets.
December saw a the culmination of a year-on-year increase to £11.1bn spent online, with in increase in m-commerce - sales via mobile and tablet devices – now accounting for 6% of that.
Further analysis shows that as the year progressed, the amount of sales transactions via m-commerce increased, with around 27% of online sales via mobile in December.
But despite a near two billion pound bump from 2011, industry research shows that UK retailers missed out on an estimated additional £1.5bn due to outdated mobile payment systems and slow mobile sites. According to a recent Harris survey, 47% of shoppers abandoned transactions in December due to ‘payment issues or slow payment transactions’
The bank account's connected to the mobile, the mobile's connected to the checkout...
The ability to pay for items in store with NFC is also likely to boost mobile payments, particularly amongst the younger demographics that are more comfortable with early adoption, or at least less concerned with identity theft.
HSBC, Santander, Nationwide, First Direct and Metro Bank, which provide banking services for around 18m UK customers, have all signed up to allow customers to pay directly from their accounts using mobile and tablet devices via Zapp.
Zapp is not on online wallet in itself, more of an application that allows the point of sale to connect with the account.
Whilst this is not something that affects website design, it does form part of the larger picture of a society becoming more comfortable (or at least more familiar) with smartphones and tablets as a method of purchasing, whether it’s buying high-end electronics online or picking up the groceries after work with a wave of the phone – something looking increasingly likely when the Galaxy S5 and iPhone 6 arrive later this year.
Responsive Server Side Web Design
All of this means that in a competitive market, getting the customer’s attention isn’t the only thing businesses need to worry about. Responding to your customers needs includes speed of service, and the golden rule of sales: once a sale has been made, nothing should get in the way of payment being completed.
By testing the load times of website pages and ensuring that as much of the work as possible is being done by powerful, well-connected servers, we ensure the minimum delay for your customers shopping on 3G connected smartphones. That’s what responsible responsive web design means to us, what does it mean to you?