Square Pegs and Round Holes: Sending Tablet Users to Smartphone Websites
By Aaron Rudger | June 20, 2012
As recently highlighted at the Mobile Banking and Commerce Summit in San Francisco, financial institutions do not seem to be taking full advantage of the mobile opportunities.
One of those often misunderstood opportunities is the difference between optimizing web performance for tablets vs. smartphones. For the sake of time and resources, developers often leverage their mobile websites for tablets as well, resulting in tiny, mobile-sized screens on large tablets.
"Tablets are different than smartphones. Tablets are not large-screen smartphones," said Alejandro Carriles, senior vice president and director of mobile banking and Internet strategy for BBVA Compass during a session at Mobile Banking and Commerce Summit, June 10-12th.
Carriles went on to mention that a fully optimized tablet can be utilized as a deeper study of personal financial analysis versus the immediate transaction functionality of the smartphone. Tablets can be used to access richer financial content such as infographics and charts, for example, something that you may have to scroll or shrink or adjust on a smartphone, would be easily visible on a tablet.
Another industry suffering from lack of tablet optimization is the retail sector. According to a study released in February, fewer than one-third of retailers had optimized their sites for tablet commerce. Even more interesting, one-quarter of these apps from companies that are using them don’t allow shoppers to buy directly. Most companies rely on their normal website or on mobile apps.
Considering that the tablet’s web interface is so useful in the creation of an engaging, discovery-based shopping experience, not optimizing for tablets seems like a waste of potential, especially since studies show that Couch Commerce is here to stay.
So what are companies missing out on by not optimizing? According to one prediction, by 2015, the tablet market is expected to grow to more than 300 million and, in January, Adobe reported that tablet users spend more than 50 percent more for each transaction at an online retailer site compared to smartphone users. They also spend 20 percent more than traditional computer users. In addition, Adobe found that tablet users were three times more likely to buy something than smartphone users and nearly as likely to convert to a purchase as traditional computer users.
Those numbers alone should convince industries like retail and banking that mobile website development and optimization is two-fold effort for mobile devices, showing that the smarpthone and tablet experience are not one in the same.