The Mobile Web: An Illustrated Look 2015

May 1, 2015

Over the past two years we’ve shared some key statics to illustrate the business value of the mobile web. Another year has passed, so let’s take a fresh look at the quickly evolving mobile landscape.

I recently attended the MinneWebCon conference with my fellow Cruxers. Karen McGrane presented “The Mobile Content Mandate” and her message really resonated with our team. She emphasized the importance of delivering content wherever your customer wants to consume it by stating, “You don’t get to decide which device people use to access your content: they do.”

Even more powerful was her point that, for many users, it is not a decision. Limited access to broadband coupled with ubiquitous access to smartphones has led to enormous numbers of people who access the Internet only via their smartphone. So, the next time someone says, “Nobody would do that on their phone!” remind them that not everyone has the same access to larger screens.

The numbers speak for themselves. Mobile is not an afterthought. Users expect companies to provide a great experience across all platforms and devices.

Just Pinch and Zoom: Corporate Sites Slow to Adjust

Despite the rapid, predictable rise in smartphone Internet usage, Fortune 100 companies have been slow to respond to the changing landscape.

Of the current Fortune 100 companies, 44% don’t have a mobile-friendly web presence. The other 66% either have a dedicated mobile website (45%) or a responsive site (11%).

Companies that are slow to adjust may be conceding a key competitive advantage to others in the marketplace.


Data Source: Pure Oxygen Labs

Smartphone Ownership is Diverse

Multicultural consumers continue to lead the growth in smartphone use, as they are adopting smartphones at a higher rate than the U.S. average. The top three race demographics with the highest rates of smartphone ownership are: Asian/Pacific Islanders, Black-African Americans, and Hispanics. A large proportion of these demographics only use or mostly use the Internet on their mobile device because they do not have access to broadband service at home.

In our work within highly regulated industries like healthcare and financial services, clients were initially hesitant to invest in mobile. But those days are fading, as customers are gaining access via mobile and simultaneously being offered more choice in the marketplace. A customer’s experience with your site today – whether good or bad – may have a tremendous impact on loyalty decisions down the road.

Data Source: Nielsen

Data Source: Karen McGrane

Smartphone Ownership by Age

When it comes to smartphone ownership by age, Millennials (age 18-34) lead the pack in the U.S.  In the second-quarter (Q2) of 2014, 85% of Millennials aged 18-24 and 86% aged 25-34 owned a smartphone device — up from 77% and 80% in Q2 2013. Amongst all Millennials, about half only use or mostly use the Internet with their mobile device.

We encourage decision makers within large organizations to think carefully about their audiences when making decisions. In user experience strategy, it can be tempting to think of your own bias or preference as a general truth – especially with a disruptive technology in the mix.

The fact that, for example, you would never perform a complicated, multi-step task on your smartphone (e.g., enrolling in healthcare benefits) has little bearing on whether your audience would. Proper research can lead to much more informed and effective conclusions.

Data Source: Nielsen

Data Source: Karen McGrane

Mobile-Friendly Search Ranking

Have you heard the buzz that on April 21st Google rolled out the mobile-friendly search update? It’s true. This change will have an immediate impact on your mobile search ranking. Google’s mobile ranking factors will not only label your site as mobile-friendly, but will also determine if your site should rank higher in the search results.

Google said this algorithmic change will have a “significant impact” in mobile search results. This means that if you are not accommodating the mobile user, Google will not rank you as high in the search results.

Is your corporate website mobile-friendly? Take the mobile-friendly test by Google.

Data Source: Google Webmaster Central Blog

Are you Ready?

Do you know on which devices your users access your content? Are you targeting a multicultural and/or wide age range demographic? Is your site ready for the new Google algorithm impacting your search ranking? Have you given mobile-friendliness your full attention?

Mobile is here to stay and its business impact is growing at a rapid pace. If you would like to talk about your mobile User Experience strategy, get in touch. We’d love to discuss how we could collaborate with you.

By Annette Gustafson
Senior Interface Designer

Annette has over 15 years in creative design for interactive experiences. Her design aesthetics and attention to detail can be seen through all stages of the collaborative process; from the initial sketches to the final deliverables.

View Annette's Bio


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