Tablets, smartphones or desktop: How the time of day matters

Research has shown that more people are accessing the internet by mobile. But, with people owning multiple devices of different sizes, when do we choose which device to use and how does that affects ROI?

In January this year, StatCounter released a report that 8.49% of website pageviews come from a handheld mobile device, rather than a desktop or laptop. This came just months after Google reported that tablets were becoming the device to use late at night, mobile following close behind and desktop ruling the day.

[Image from Google Mobile Ads Blog]

The graph shows that people tend to use their mobile devices a bit in the morning and then a lot more at night. This makes sense as during the day people tend to go online at work from a desktop/laptop. It's also noticeable that people are using static computing less for pleasure and shopping.

In fact, Google research from 2010 shows that the trend of using smartphones has been around for a while. So why the blog post?

It turns out, even with these reports – and many more – brands are still not paying attention to mobile device usage, as their websites are considered to offer a poor mobile experience. According to the Econsultancy report, more than half of brands claim that their sites are visited regularly by mobile devices while 36% rate the customer experience as 'poor' or 'very poor'.

As the earlier video suggested, many people also use their smartphone when shopping on the high street but when it comes to shopping online, late night browsing will be affected by a poor user experience.

People browsing digital shops will get frustrated by the poor experience they have when on their mobile. Rather than try again on a different platform they will simply shop elsewhere.

In fact, Silicon Valley based Steve Chou, owner of Bumblebee Linens and author of My Wife Quite Her Job, blogged about how a good mobile experience had caused his mobile sales and pages per visits to increase twice as much.

[Image from My Wife Quit Her Job]

Chou states that there are three main reasons people will leave your site.

  • Any time a customer has to scroll horizontally, you're probably going to lose that customer
  • Any time a customer has to pinch to zoom, you're probably going to lose that customer
  • Any time a customer miss clicks on a hyper link because they have fat fingers, you're probably going to lose that customer

As with our earlier insight on Jakob Nielsen, whether you ignore responsive design or not, mobile user experience is essential.

So as more people move towards mobile devices, it will become unpredictable what device specific users will access your site at any given time. As we reported in our insight earlier this year, Responsive web design: Another fad in design and development?, the most recent RWD site we launched saw a huge surge from mobile devices.

We're convinced responsive website design delivers a better user and brand experience and we're currently working on various responsive design projects. If you think your customers deserve a great online experience - at all times of the day - get in touch.