Have you visited your website on a tablet? Or have you assumed/hoped itâ€™s the same as on a desktop, only smaller? Creating a website designed for touchscreens might not be top of the marketing â€˜to doâ€™ list at the moment. But at the rate tablets are flying from the shelves, it soon should be.
Last Christmas ownership of tablets doubled in the US to a reported 19 percent. Now that Google and Microsoft are joining the party, the proliferation of tablets is gathering pace. In fact, itâ€™s been estimated that Google will shift 8 million of its new Nexus devices – more than double its predictions at the start of the year.
This means your website will soon need to work on all manner of screen sizes and be navigable with fingers. That is unless, of course, youâ€™re happy to ignore a potentially profitable chunk of your customer base.
Tablet users are bigger spenders
M-commerce on smartphones might be getting marketers salivating, but selling to tablet users is worth getting excited about too.
Various studies all agree that tablet users buy more often and spend more money. Adobe, for examples, has said that tablet users spend 50 percent more than smartphone users and 20 percent more than those on desktops. While eBay estimates tablet shoppers are spending 50 percent more while in â€˜lean backâ€™ mode in front of the telly.
With the ever reliable Econsultancy backing up the data with similar findings, itâ€™s clear that tablet users are a fast growing and profitable segment. Ignore them at your peril.
So what changes do I need to make to my website?
Navigating a website with your fingers can be a different kettle of fish to using a mouse, with all sorts of usability issues that can throw a roadblock in front of a sale. Dropdown menus donâ€™t work, text can be hard to read and clicking on small icons can require a dialling wand (or â€˜fat finger syndromeâ€™, as usability expert Jakob Nielson calls it).
So whatâ€™s to be done? Firstly, you should conduct some testing to find the pitfalls in your user experience. You can then implement changes to optimise it for touchscreens, such as adding bigger buttons, playing around with text length and size and using responsive web design to magically morph images to the right sizes.
But with so many devices and screen sizes to think about, trying to make changes so your website works on tablets can be like rearranging the furniture on the Titanic. Instead, it might be sensible to look at a tablet optimisation service, like Mobify, Pressly or OnSwipe, to do all the â€˜heavy liftingâ€™ for you.
Enough about web design, what does it mean for us copywriters?
This being a copywriting blog, I thought Iâ€™d save the best for last. Another welcome trend from the rise in tablets is that people are reading more. Tablets are, after all, designed with news consumption and reading heavily in mind.
Research has found that 66 percent of users prefer to read on a tablet rather than a desktop and 77 percent of tablet users read publications daily. This makes it the perfect content marketing platform. When you also consider that 91 percent of IT decision makers now use their iPad at work, optimising your eBooks and white papers for touchscreens might be a smart move.
This could include integrating video (67 percent of tablet users watch videos to the end, compared with 53 percent on desktop) and using a service like magplus.com to give your digital publications a magazine feel.
The rise of tablets into the mainstream is well underway. Your current website might be okay for now. But user expectations will be ramping up very soon. So itâ€™s already time to start thinking about what experience your website provides customers on tablets and how you can deliver content in ways that take advantage of the touchscreen reading experience.