What to consider when your audience is mobile

It is hardly revolutionary these days to argue that mobile devices are changing how people access information. It seems almost too obvious when we see that sales of smart phones and tablet devices have gone through the roof in the last couple of years. But a new report adds even more evidence by analyzing the kinds of devices that are accessing the internet.

The Local Search Association report, prepared by comScore, says that “the number of PC users accessing the Internet flat-lined for the first time (in 2012).” Meanwhile, the report finds that smart phones and tablet computers now account for 15 percent of web traffic, up from just 7 percent in 2011.

Really, we should not be surprised by this (see, “Social Media = Mobile Media“). Since 2009, laptop computers have outsold desktop computers. Nearly 30 percent of adult Americans own a tablet computer. Cell phones are owned by almost 90 percent of adult Americans. And almost half of cell phones are smart phones.

Based on the trend toward mobile communications we have some work to do. It’s absolutely critical that you have a mobile plan and that you do an overall review of your web site from the perspective of a mobile user.

Consider that:

1. People are increasingly more likely to access your web site when they are away from home.
2. The kind of information people want from your web site is likely to be different if people are visiting your web site while they are out and about.
3. How people interact with your web site will probably be different if they are accessing it from a smart phone or tablet computer. The screen size alone – not to mention touch screen technology – changes the way in which people engage with information.

The public will continue to access your web pages through standard PCs. That will not go away any time soon. But keeping your finger on the mobility trend will help ensure that your customers can find and interact with your information no matter what technology they have in their pocket.


Author: Lloyd Brown

I am the director of communications for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. I enjoy running marathons and triathlons, playing guitar and spending time with family. My professional interest is in how social media and new technology shapes the communication relationship between government and the general public. I have a Master’s degree in Communications and Leadership from Gonzaga University in Spokane and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Washington State University.

2 thoughts on “What to consider when your audience is mobile”

  1. Another interesting post Lloyd. Reminded me of somethng I was thinking about yesterday. My wife got a Jawbone Up wrist band and it plugs directly into her iPhone and all of the data and settings are accessed through the app. There’s absolutely no role or need for a desktop or laptop to use it. Of course, she also bought it at the Apple Store where you won’t find a single cash register either.

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