Is your website multiscreen ready?

By Anthony Caruana | April 5, 2013

A website that really pops on a traditional computer is a must-have for most businesses. But what happens to that site on a tablet or smartphone? You need to engage your customers on whatever device they're using.

Many of your potential customers have access to multiple computing devices. They might have a laptop for work, a desktop at home, a tablet for when they're sitting on the couch and a smartphone when they're travelling. That presents website developers with a challenge - how do you make a website that looks great and is functional on every different device?

Each of those devices has a different sized screen. And within those categories there's diversity as well. For example, the iPhone 5's screen operates at a resolution of 640×1136. The previous model ran at 640×960. The Samsung's Galaxy SIII's screen uses 1,920×1,080. Each device shows a different quantity of data because of these differences in size and resolution, which can affect the appearance of a website. When you create or update your website, you'll need to take this into consideration.

The good news is that it's relatively easy to direct customers to different versions of your website so that they get the best possible experience regardless of the device they are using.

When a web browser visits a site, it actually tells the site which web browser is being used and, potentially, what kind of device. Web developers can use that information to dynamically tailor the appearance of your website to suit each device.

The best way to understand how this works is to remember that your website's content is completely separate from its appearance. That means you can customise how the data is presented on different sized screens. You may choose to offer different functions on different devices.

For example, your desktop/laptop site might offer a very rich experience with video, whereas the mobile version of your site will omit this in order to reduce the amount of data customers need to view your content. This is an important consideration given that many mobile clients will have slower connections.

Handy tips:

  • Work with your web developer to ensure that your site works well on different screen sizes and with different connection speeds
  • Think like a customer. If you're using a smartphone, does the site appear quickly or does it test your patience?
  • Test the site out yourself and then have some trusted friends do the same. Listen to their constructive advice.

Is your site mobile-friendly? If not, do you plan to update it?

 

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