34 Web, Mobile Design GCI April 2014
n Consumers are going mobile. In 2013,
sales of smartphones outpaced
basic cell phones worldwide, shifting
the world to a “mobile first” attitude.
n Brands have different options to be
mobile friendly, including creating
apps, but responsively designed
sites—or sites that convert and
form to fit the device on which they
are being accessed—are pulling
ahead as the top choice for web
n When creating a responsive site,
you have to remember the devices
consumers will be using—
smartphones, tablets, laptops and
desktops—as well as acknowledge
how often consumers are using
your site and for what purpose.
It’s 2014—how much of your traffic is mobile? How do consumers using mobile devices experience your website? Imagine if you never had any desktop traffic at all—how would
consumers interact with you?
A lot of bandwidth has been used
describing the importance of mobile
optimization for brands. Since the advent
of the iPhone in 2007, consumers have
made a tremendous shift toward mobile
technologies, which vastly accelerated and
become more complex with the iPad’s debut
in 2010. Fast on the heels of the invention
of Apple’s iOS, Google released the Android
mobile operating system—and then gave it
away for free. Every major computer and
phone manufacturer, and even Amazon,
started producing devices for mobile: big
smartphones, truly huge ‘phablet’ phones,
and tablets in variety of sizes.
In 2013, sales of smartphones outpaced
basic cell phones worldwide, meaning the
trend toward mobile usage by consumers
is a truly global phenomenon. Tracking
firms estimate mobile devices to account
for nearly a third of all web traffic, and
some sites, Yelp and ESPN among them,
report more than 50% of all their traffic is
now from mobile devices. Ericsson shows
an 80% increase in mobile data use year
after year, with a 10% uptick each quarter.
Compare this to the drop in laptop and
desktop computer sales.
A mobile strategy is a must for today’s beauty
brands, but knowing how to best optimize your
brand’s web experience isn’t always easy.
BY ZACHARY THACHER
Before your very eyes, you can see the
consumer trend that is either “also mobile”
or “mobile first.” The World Wide Web
might have started as desktop only, but
those days are consigned to memories
of Seattle grunge rock and President
Bill Clinton. It’s 2014—and if you sell
beauty products or provide online beauty
content, you have to provide a fully mobile
optimized brand and shopping experience,
or you’ll lose roughly half of your audience.
By 2015, this might be more than 70% of
your online audience.
The Race to Catch Up
As the trend to mobile has exploded in the
past seven years, brands have adapted. The
late 2000s created a huge rush for brands to
create apps and “m dot” websites—dumbed
down, very narrow, mobile-optimized
websites that usually start with “mobile.
yourbrand” or “m.yourbrand.” Web servers
can detect what type of device is asking it
for content and then can serve a special,
usually very basic, alternate website of your
brand to a user’s smartphone. It requires
creating an entirely new version of your
website. Updated your desktop homepage?
Don’t forget to maintain your mobile site
too! As simple as this sounds, it’s an added
layer of complexity to struggle with.
Beyond these little “mobile-friendly”
WEB, MOBILE DESIGN
sitelets, the only other recourse for brands