Tablets Are Not Phones

by cdwise 25. December 2012 04:14

Some folks are attributing Microsoft’s decision to drop Expression Web in favor of “apps” created using Visual Studio and some future “design” integration  is based upon statistics like these: statcounter.com mobile_vs_desktop While I agree that in the future many folks will use tablets and other devices for much of the web browsing they currently do on a desktop thinking that traditional websites will no longer be of value is wrong. Think about how many people you see using laptops at places like Starbucks, on airplanes and other “mobile” locations? The folks you see with the high end laptop/ultrabook are likely to be the same people who have a tablet or two (different platforms) and they do not want crippled sites just because they are using a tablet instead of their laptop. However, they do appreciate some of the things associated with “mobile” sites – lower bandwidth and faster loading. Create your website for ease of use and speed will make all of your users happy.

Mobile and tablet doesn't necessarily mean the visitor is using a phone or "app". I've seen a backlash against serving "mobile" sites and pushing apps from tablet users. Just to give you a few links in response:

Google Webmaster Central Giving Tablet Users Full Sized Websites

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.

 

If apps and mobile sites were the way to go you wouldn't see articles like cnet.com-how-to-view-desktop-versions of web sites on firefox for android

Linked In User Experience Group post:

Give tablet users your desktop site! Not your mobile site!

Give tablet users your desktop site! Not your mobile site! Bruce Clay's SEO newsletter this week has a great little piece in it that corresponds with a burning issue I've been having since buying a 10-inch Android tablet. More than 50% of the websites I visit using my tablet redirect me to a mobile site, or want me to download their mobile app. I HATE IT! Do you get it? Should I say it louder? I H A T E I T ! ! ! And I think most tablet users would agree. You see a 10-inch tablet can happily display most desktop-oriented websites comfortably, especially if they are using responsive design. It is irritating to open a website designed for 1600 pixel screens, but they don't usually have mobile sites anyway. What is much more irritating is to keep getting forced back into the mobile rendering, even when I request the desktop version. Are you guilty of this? Do you think specifically about tablet-based users of your websites? How do you present your site to them? Banking sites are probably the worst offenders, followed closely by airlines and flight booking sites, eBay (which is rendered absolutely useless on my tablet), major newspaper websites, but it's a very, very long list. You don't want to get me started on this. So come on all you UX designers out there, tell me why you're not thinking about tablet users when the European Travel Commission has identified that there are already 11.5 million tablet users in the US alone, predicted to rise to 90.8 million by 2015.

Bruce Clay's SEO newsletter this week has a great little piece in it that corresponds with a burning issue I've been having since buying a 10-inch Android tablet. More than 50% of the websites I visit using my tablet redirect me to a mobile site, or want me to download their mobile app. I HATE IT! Do you get it? Should I say it louder? I H A T E I T ! ! ! And I think most tablet users would agree.

You see a 10-inch tablet can happily display most desktop-oriented websites comfortably, especially if they are using responsive design. It is irritating to open a website designed for 1600 pixel screens, but they don't usually have mobile sites anyway. What is much more irritating is to keep getting forced back into the mobile rendering, even when I request the desktop version.

Are you guilty of this? Do you think specifically about tablet-based users of your websites? How do you present your site to them?

Banking sites are probably the worst offenders, followed closely by airlines and flight booking sites, eBay (which is rendered absolutely useless on my tablet), major newspaper websites, but it's a very, very long list. You don't want to get me started on this.

So come on all you UX designers out there, tell me why you're not thinking about tablet users when the European Travel Commission has identified that there are already 11.5 million tablet users in the US alone, predicted to rise to 90.8 million by 2015.

This is why I think Microsoft has made a big mistake. The future of the web is not device specific apps nor is it a low quality site. That's the whole premise behind responsive design

3 Ways to Approach Website Optimization for Tablet Visitors

While some marketers may feel that they can implement the same strategies on both smartphones and tablets to increase conversion, the evidence suggests that this is the wrong approach.

It's important to understand that mobile phones and tablets are two separate channels. While it's easy to group them together, the tablet needs to be looked at as its own channel that deserves an individual and unique user experience.

These are but a fraction of the backlash I'm seeing against sending mobile sites to tablets whether they are running iOS, Android or Win 8 RT. Frankly, what makes a good tablet website is also what makes a good usable website in any modern browser. Nothing frustrates me more than getting a stripped down narrow mobile site when I'm on my iPad or having an app pushed down my throat. I've been to more than one site that before it will even load I have to decline their "app" and sometimes more than once with an "are you really sure you don't want app" before I get to the actual website. Even then I've had it send me to mobile versions at which point I usually find some other place to do what I was trying to do on that website.

Personally, I don't like having a different usually far more limited experience because I've been forced into using an app. Let me give you an example using Netflix. There is only one way I can manage everything on my Netflix account and that is by using a full featured web browser. We have a bunch of different devices all of which can be used with Netflix. Some of them only let me play what is already in my on demand queue such as the wii game console device. Others will let me search or let me browser, occasinally both - Roku and Samsung DVD player with Netflix app. iOS lets me play and search but none of the apps mentioned let me manage my account. For that I have to use a real web browser. Okay, I can use Safari on my iPad but then I can't watch the videos there because of Apple's limitation of Flash and Silverlight used by Netflix for DRM but at least by using a combination of the website and app I can get all the features of Netflix on my iPad. I haven't really explored the Win 8 Netflix app nor have I used the xBox app on my son's xBox but I suspect it will be closer to the feature limited versions of the other "devices" vs the experience on my Mac or PC.

Apps are better for some things than a website. You want to have your Office tools installed whether in an app or a program. Additional security protocols like banks need I have no problem using an app with (unlike the gentleman quoted above) but I don't want specific apps for every danged website I visit. Think about it if you needed an app for every site you have visited in the last week. How would you ever keep track of them? I've already installed a start menu replacement on my Win 8 Pro machines because I can't deal with the over 100 icons that my full set of installed programs adds to the "start screen" since every bit of every program gets its own tile

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