Out of date websites are costing Waikato businesses dearly.
Waikato businesses could be missing out on half of the e-commerce they are due because their websites haven’t been updated for internet browsers on smartphones and tablets.
If their core business is e-commerce this can be a substantial amount of business.
Hamilton based graphic design and web development company E9 surveyed 150 local websites and found half were not responsive on the web browsers of mobile devices. This means websites designed for large desktop computer screens appear exactly the same on a smartphones or tablet, only in a shrunken form.
Such websites are designed to be navigate with a mouse, rather than fingers, making it difficult to move from page to page.
WEB OF INTRIGUE: Company-X director David Hallett (left) and E9 general manager Mehrdad Behroozi.
“It’s far from a great user experience for the mobile device user,” said E9 general manager Mehrdad Behroozi. “In fact it’s tedious seeing the website so tiny on your mobile device. It’s like trying to read your name on a grain of rice.
“Typically such websites are anything from difficult to impossible to use on a small screen and the user usually gives up after a few seconds, since they know there’s a better browsing experience elsewhere. If your non-mobile responsive website drives a potential customer to your competitor, and they end up spending money with them, this can be a very expensive mistake.”
It’s no coincidence that some of New Zealand’s busiest websites, google.co.nz and trademe.co.nz, are optimised for mobile web browsers. They appear one way on a desktop or laptop computer, and another way on a smartphone or tablet.
“We were really surprised to see how many Waikato websites are still not responsive to mobile devices,” Merhdad, who is known as Merv, said.
“You would not print a brochure so small that you need a magnifying glass to read it, yet a website is a more important part of your marketing collateral because it’s always on and accessible from anywhere in the world.
“If you have a website that is not responsive to mobile devices you don’t need a new one, only to update it for the latest technology which is here to stay.”
Internet usage from mobile devices exceeded desktop worldwide for the first time in October, StatCounter Global Stats found. Mobile device usage claimed 51.3 per cent of internet usage in October, compared with 48.7 per cent from desktop computers.
Hamilton based software specialist Company-X, a sister firm to E9, wouldn’t dream of building a web based application that wasn’t responsive to tablets and smartphones as well as the more traditional computer monitor.
“Everything we do on the web can be viewed on small screens as well as larger screens,” said director David Hallett. “The idea is that you get an equally great experience, regardless of what device you choose to view the application on.”
Company-X’s clients include everyone from government departments to one person businesses with projects of large to small scale.
A good proportion of Company-X’s work is on smartphone and tablet platforms in the Apple App Store for iOS devices and the Google Play store for Android, David said.
“These mobile apps, by their very nature, are designed to be responsive and their popularity only goes to prove just how popular mobile computing has become in the past few years.”