If you’re reading this article than most likely you already know just how big of an impact tablets like iPad are making on website traffic. After only being on the market for a few short years, tablets have already changed the way a large percentage of people are accessing the internet.
For example, my wife needed a new computer two years ago. Instead of spending a few hundred dollars on a laptop, I decided to buy her an iPad for Christmas. She doesn’t do a ton of work on the computer, so she really only uses it for personal web browsing. When she does want to do work, she can use tools like Google Docs instead of Microsoft Office software. The iPad is much easier for her to interact with and it can go anywhere with her. Although laptops and desktop computers are still the primary vehicles for accessing the internet, more and more people like my wife are replacing their laptops with tablets, or simply using both. In either case, the number of people using tablets to visit your website is on the rise.
What does this mean for you? Well, it means that you need to take a hard look at your current website to see just how user-friendly it is when navigating through it on a tablet. My guess is that 99% of all websites out there need some sort of overhaul in order for them to fully function on a tablet. God forbid you’re one of those people who built their entire website in Flash… You really have a lot of work ahead of you. That being said, don’t despair, you CAN update your website so that it functions properly for both traditional computers and tablets. All that you need is a little guidance. In this article we will discuss the benefits of making your website tablet ready, provide you with some tips for updating your website, discuss some of the traps to avoid, provide a few examples of organizations who have made the leap into a tablet ready website, and conclude by exploring a few tools that you can use to create a tablet ready website.
Benefits of Making Your Website Tablet Ready
Earlier this year Adobe released a study on the impact tablets are having on website traffic and eCommerce. Their findings were pretty incredible. Adobe found that the share of website visits from tablets grew almost 10 times faster than the rate of smart phones within the first two years of being on the market. This data is pretty incredible especially when you think about just how big of an impact smart phones made on website traffic.
Here are a few of the main benefits of making your website more tablet ready:
- Seen by website visitors as an innovative company being that you will be among the few early adopters who have updated their website to function properly on tablets
- Website visitors will be able to navigate through your website easily and find the information they are looking for without the hassle of things not working properly
- Stay ahead of your competition. If your competitors have not yet updated their website, you will either move ahead of them with your target audience or you will further increase the gap between you and them if you’re already the top dog in your industry!
- Increase your conversion rate for online purchases. As part of the Adobe study who’s results were published earlier this year, the number of online purchases made from tablets continues to skyrocket. That said, people are not going to buy products from a website that they cannot navigate from their tablet.
Again, the list above is just a few of the many benefits of taking the time to update your website to ensure that it is tablet ready.
How Do I Know if My Website is Tablet Ready?
If you haven’t updated your website to ensure that it is tablet ready, then it’s most likely not. That said, there are varying degrees of how tablet friendly your existing website is. The easiest thing for you to do is access your website from both an iPad and from another tablet that runs Android or even the new Windows tablet, Surface. While on your website be sure to look at ALL elements. Click through all of your navigation elements. Play your videos. View your images. Add products to your shopping cart and actually execute a purchase. Test everything!
Here are a few things to look for when you’re looking at your website from a tablet:
- Don’t have too many clickable areas too close together
- How large are the buttons and elements that are clickable?
- Do you use Flash anywhere on your website? If so, that will need to change if you care about users who will be accessing your website from iPad.
- How many elements do you have one any given page? Far too often we cram in images, videos, copy, navigation buttons, etc. Too much “stuff” on one page can cause loading issues and make it impossible for users to navigate through when on a tablet.
- Make sure your copy size is readable. This being said, the pinch and zoom feature that tablets offer should take care of this for visitors.
- Pop-up messages/promotional offers should really go away OR make sure there is a large “close” button in a visible area
Tips for Creating a Tablet Ready Website
Making your website tablet ready doesn’t have to be difficult. You just have to follow the instructions above and navigate through your website as a user would from a tablet. Here are a few tips for making your website more tablet ready:
- Have a few people take a look at your website from a tablet to see what their experience is. You may want to diversify a bit as having a young person, middle-aged, and older individual all look at your website to see what each of them think would be beneficial.
- While doing your own review of your website use a notepad to jot down some ideas for making your site perform better. Keep in mind that it needs to perform well on both a tablet and a standard computer. Usually this means simplifying your design and making it more functional instead of getting too fancy with both the design and functionality. When in doubt KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).
- How are your font and background colors looking on a tablet? What about in a well lit area vs. a poorly lit area? With tablets being so mobile you will have users who hit your website from poorly lit areas, be sure to take that into account when coming up with your color choices.
Following the steps above will help you get started updating your website to be more tablet friendly.
Example Websites that Have Become Tablet Friendly
Even for companies who dread change, it’s hard to ignore the impact that tablets have made on website design and website development. In only a few short years the introduction of tablets has totally changed how large companies are approaching website design and development. Not only that, but website design and development companies are also being forced to evolve as more and more of your clients are looking to you for help making their websites more tablet friendly. Below are a few examples of large organizations who are early adopters of this huge new trend:
- Nike recently rolled out a new tablet ready website. It’s much more “app like” than their previous website, yet still allows for easy web browsing from a laptop or desktop computer. Nike is a great example of a tablet ready website.
- Amazon.com realizes how important it is for their website to be more tablet ready, especially in regards to eCommerce. People who shop on Amazon from tablets want to have the same experience that they would when shopping from their laptop. Amazon understands this and is in the process of totally revamping their website for use from tablets.
Tools for Making Your Website Tablet Ready
It’s time to separate yourself from the competition. By having the expertise in transforming standard websites into tablet ready websites more and more customers are going to come knocking at our door. Companies are realizing the importance of making their website tablet ready and they are going to need website developers to help them with it. Below are a few tools and resources for you to use when redoing your own website or for your clients.
If you’re running WordPress and want a theme that you can install in order to create a tablet ready website, here are a few good ones to choose from:
- Mobility is an iPad-ready WordPress theme with finger sliding capabilities and a custom drag-and-drop gallery admin. Simply install and configure the settings the way you want and you’re ready to go.
- Onswipe will help make your blog look amazing from a tablet and can be setup in under 3 minutes.
Here are a few other tools and resources to help you make your website tablet ready:
- Does your development team already know how to program in HTML5? If so, you’re in good shape when it comes to building tablet ready websites. Learning HTML5 would be a great skill to have if you’re thinking of making your website more tablet ready.
- Pressly is a software tool that you can use to convert your website into a tablet ready environment when someone accesses it from a tablet web browser.
- Mobile and Tablet e-Commerce: Is Anyone Really Ready (.PDF) is a great ebook for learning what the future will bring in regards to tablet e-Commerce. If you have an e-Commerce website or if you have a lot of clients who run e-Commerce websites, this would be a great ebook to read.
Will You Move Forward In Creating a Tablet Ready Website
Now that you have all of the information you need in order to make a decision on if putting the time and/or money into developing a tablet ready website is right for you, will you make the leap? Perhaps you’ve already gone through the experience of creating a tablet ready website? What was it like? What other advice do you have that wasn’t covered in this article? We hope you will take time to leave your comments below so that the rest of the community can benefit from not just this article, but your practical knowledge. We hope to hear from you. Please feel free to include a link to your website if it’s already been optimized for tablets.