Early New Year's Resolution: Optimize Your Site for Tablets
Is your website tablet-optimized?
If you answered “no”, then take action as soon as possible to avoid being left in the dust.
The biggest players in tech, namely, Apple, Google, Amazon, and most recently Microsoft have all doubled down on tablet development. Apple has its iPad and iPad mini, Google unveiled its the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10, Amazon has the Kindle series, and Microsoft’s Surface just recently hit stores. And those are just the big guys. There are numerous Android tablets in the industry right now, and users will have no trouble getting their hands on the devices that they need.
It’s pretty obvious that the tablet industry is booming right now, and whether you’re a marketer, a blogger, or an entrepreneur (or all of the above), the rise of the tablets is something that you should really take advantage of.
Having a Tablet-Friendly Website is a Must
The numbers pretty much say it all. According to Monetate, web traffic to tablets has increased by a whopping 348% in a single year. That number is showing no signs of slowing down, as “worldwide iPad sales are expected to increase 132%, while Android sales are estimated to grow twice as fast” between the years 2012 and 2016.”
Monetate’s study also revealed that in the first quarter of 2012, 6.52% of website visits came from tablets, compared to just 1.66% from a year before. And if those numbers aren’t staggering enough for you, consider this: earlier this year, eConsultancy reported that according to the Millennial Media, “In Q1 of 2011, 15% of all ad impressions the mobile ad network served were to tablet devices, but in the first quarter of this year, that number jumped to 20%.” That’s a big leap in ad impressions, and advertisers and publishers alike should definitely take notice.
Speaking of advertisements, since tablets offer more real estate, they are more ideal for mobile ads. Unlike smartphones that provide limited space and can hinder the readability and view-ability of some ads, tablets can give you more options to serve up tasteful banners that are easy to notice without being obtrusive.
Tablet Optimization Tips
If you’re thinking about building a tablet-specific website or optimizing what you have for tablet users, the following tips below should help get you started:
Don’t confuse smartphone sites with tablet websites – Most people think that having smartphone-friendly website is enough to keep up with today’s consumers. And while that may have been true a couple of years ago, it just isn’t the case anymore.
Make sure that your “mobile website” plan is divided into two: one for smartphones and another for tablets. Do not make the mistake of using the same website format for smartphones and tablets, as the two devices are extremely different.
In fact, if you already have a smartphone-optimized website but don’t have one for tablets, then you’re better off using the desktop version than forcing the phone-optimized website to work for tablet users.
As Google put it:
“When considering your site’s visitors using tablets, it’s important to think about both the devices and what users expect. Compared to smartphones, tablets have larger touch screens and are typically used on Wi-Fi connections. Tablets offer a browsing experience that can be as rich as any desktop or laptop machine, in a more mobile, lightweight, and generally more convenient package. This means that, unless you offer tablet-optimized content, users expect to see your desktop site rather than your site’s smartphone site.”
Make it as responsive as possible – Tablet users don’t always have time to sit around. While they may not be as active or as “on the go” as smartphone users, it’s still crucial to make your tablet website as quick, intuitive, and as responsive as possible.
Ensure that the site is easy to click and scroll. Make the components of your website smooth and swipe-able so that users can always find what they’re looking for and navigate to the pages that they need. Nothing turns off customers as quickly as a website that doesn’t respond to their fingertips, so be sure to invest in user experience.
Google suggests the following for tablet website responsiveness:
- Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.
- If responsive design is not the best option to serve your users, Google supports having your content being served using different HTML. The different HTML can be on the same URL or on different URLs, and Googlebot can handle both setups appropriately if you follow our recommendations.
Fight Fat Finger Errors – Browsing the web using a mobile device may be convenient, but it can also lead to some inaccurate clicking. Since fingers can’t be as precise as a mouse cursor, users often tap on the wrong links. To address this, make sure that the buttons on your website are big enough to minimize incorrect clicks. If you have a lot of links on your site, try to put ample space between them to give room to people’s finger tips and to avoid “fat finger” errors.
Be flexible – Some of the best tablet websites out there are the most flexible ones. Ensure that your site displays smoothly both while on landscape and in portrait mode. Also use images that are big enough that users don’t have to zoom in and out of pictures. However, if zooming is unavoidable, make it easy for them to utilize the “pinch to zoom” function of their devices in order to boost user experience.
Make things easier to find – Users browsing the web using a mobile device don’t always have a lot of time. Do your visitors a favor and make the things on your website easier to find. Don’t bury links or pages under too many clicks. Also check out your site analytics and take note of mobile users’ most visited pages, and further optimize them for tablets.
Test, test, and test – Finally, it’s important to test you website on actual devices to see how they look and behave. Be sure to test the site across multiple tablets, most especially the iPad, Nexus 7, and Kindle Fire as these are the most common devices out in the market.
Image credit: Compudemano on Flickr