Women love tablets

By Sarah Lennard-Brown

More women than men use tablet computers, what implications does this have for your organisation's presence online?

More women than men use tablet computers according to a recent news item from the BBC with 53% of tablet computers now owned by women. Added to that the YouGov study found that 22% of UK based adults currently own a tablet computer with another 19% likely to buy one in the near future. Older people are also more likely to use tablet computers compared to more intimidating desktop computers or laptops. This, coupled with the recent report on the worldwide fall in the sale of desk top personal computers with 10.9% less units being shipped over the last year, is more evidence that smaller interfaces are becoming the preferred way to access the internet and social media.

This change is important - it means your customers and service users are looking at your website using new technology. Do you know how your website performs on the smaller browser windows of smart phones and tablet computers? Does your website have a responsive design that ensures it looks its best across all browser sizes?

Organisations that have been early adopters of responsive design have been pleasantly surprised by the increase in visitor traffic after implementing the new responsive style sheets. Surrey and Sussex Probation had just this experience. They asked Ecru to implement a responsive design after noticing that more than 10% of their website visitor traffic was from smart phones. After implementing responsive style sheets across their website they experienced an increase in visitor traffic of 45%.

It is really important, when implementing a responsive design, to make sure that your new responsive style sheets are accessible to all users. Older people and people with disabilities can face increased barriers accessing information on smaller devices. It is easy to understand why - smaller interfaces coupled with small font sizes or designs that depend exclusively on images to convey information can be worse than useless for people with visual difficulties and that includes all of us who need reading glasses (my arms are just not long enough to read some websites on my smartphone). I know you can increase the size of the text on the screen by using pinch-to-zoom but this can make a website without an accessible responsive style sheet difficult to navigate and mean you can't find the information you need. (This is bringing back disturbing memories of trying to find postcodes to plug into a sat nav on non- responsive websites - you enlarge the text so you can see it and then you are lost in a sea of text that doesn't make sense and you lose all hope of finding the essential postcode.)

Responsive designs such as this one at GEOAmey and Ecru's website (try reading this page on your tablet computer or smartphone) take steps to make sure that everyone can access information regardless of ability or disability and ensure that essential information is always available whether you access it at your desk or on your tablet or smartphone.

Call 0800 0433 963 to talk to me about your website.

Sarah Lennard-Brown, Director of Ecru Sarah Lennard-Brown, Director of Ecru

This article was written by Sarah Lennard-Brown, Director of Ecru. If you have any questions regarding this article or would like to discuss your next web site project with Sarah please call her on 01702 479 677 or get in touch via our contact form.

Is your website responsive? Email us or call us on 01702 479 677 to discuss how we can help you.