The numbers don't lie: mobile web traffic matters. Period. End of story. And this isn't just true for e-commerce or social media — mobile matters to schools in particular. Using data from our schools around the world, we dug in on trends in mobile browsing on school sites to discover three main trends about website usage.
1. The average school site gets 1/3 of its traffic from smartphones and tablets.
What this means for you: Responsive website design isn't a fad, it's the appropriate response (forgive the pun) to the proliferation of handheld devices in everyday life. From small middle schools in Tennessee to boarding schools in Seoul, we are noting that all of our clients are receiving on average over 30% of their traffic from touchscreen devices. As we look towards 2015, it's important to make every website decision with these devices in mind.
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2. Though the novelty of these devices has worn off, their share of web traffic continues to rise.
Initially it was possible to attribute the growth of mobile browsing to novelty; the fact that these devices had recently been invented meant that people were clamoring get their hands on them. But six years into the iPhone era and three years after the iPad launch, the data does not suggest that we've reached equilibrium.
We continue to see steady growth in touchscreens' share of school site visits, proving that tablets and smartphones provide an increasingly viable browsing platform. The best web developers today are completely reimagining browsing experiences with responsive design in mind.
In short, responsive web design isn't a buzzword anymore, but is becoming an industry standard.
3. Smaller screen sizes equal shorter visit lengths.
Mobile site visitors are making much shorter website visits than their desktop counterparts. Is this is a function of the user's mindset per device, or is it a measure of the quality of the experience on each device? We are finding that regardless of the device, users are demanding a broad and robust browsing experience.
In the coming years, we predict that the difference in session lengths will normalize as the mobile browsing experience becomes less pinch-and-zoom and more aligned with the ways these devices work.