The Internet in your Pocket: Mobile Web

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With more Smartphones being sold now than ever, more and more people are taking the Internet on the move. You can access the internet almost anywhere, provided you have a mobile data or wi-fi connection available.

What proportion of Internet users are accessing the internet via mobile devices? And what browsers are they using to do so?

Looking at the most up to date (at time of writing) statistics from StatCounter, it shows that 7.02% of web use comes from mobile browsers. While this is still a fairly small percentage, bear in mind just how many people use the internet daily and what this would actually convert to in numbers. It would be a massive audience.

There is quite a selection of mobile browsers available now, too. StatCounter shows us that Opera Mini is the most popular, with a share of 22.08%. Android and Nokia browser are not far behind with 18.17% and 17.10% respectively. The iPhone is just behind with a share of 15.09% and Blackberry has 12.30% of the mobile web market. The remaining percent is scattered across other, less widely used browsers.

As web developers, we need to think about how our websites are going to look on smartphone browsers, too. Browsers such as Opera Mini and the iPhone’s Safari show pages in a very similar way to how they would be displayed on a computer so they are not so much of an issue, but things do get more difficult when the browser doesn’t show pages as they are designed due to screen resolution restrictions, for example.

It is evident from the statistics that this usage is only going to grow and grow. Potentially, it could exceed usage from more traditional computer-based browsers so this is something web developers would need to be prepared for. It could mean rethinking our design strategies and focus more on designing for phones. I personally hope this doesn’t become an option as I feel a lot of the aesthetics will be removed or toned down for Smartphone browsing as they will be lost on a smaller screen.

What are your thoughts? Do you think the mobile web is going to have a major impact on future design?

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