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Why Commercial Printers Bother With Mobile?

Why are commercial printers attempting to create mobile-optimized Web experiences? Well, the US population is sitting at around 311 million. Of those 311 million people, about half of US adults own a smartphone. On top of that, for a whopping 28% of Americans, a mobile device is their primary way of accessing the Web .
So, for a commercial printer looking to reach potential customers, mobile provides a tremendous opportunity to connect with them.
What’s more is that people are arriving to the mobile Web through more diverse channels than ever before. In addition to direct and referral traffic, Printers are using social networks, email campaigns, SMS campaigns, search and more. Because these activities are increasingly happening on mobile, creating Web experiences optimized for mobile makes even more sense for commercial printers.

Why Would Anyone Visit A Printer’s Website?

Who is visiting these printers websites? What are they looking for? Why might they want on a mobile device? Visitors are generally either looking for information on how to print their products, or looking to take action. requesting quotes and ordering printing products.

The most beautiful design in the world will accomplish nothing if people can’t view it. Historically, the mobile Web has been viewed as the Web Lite™, whose users get served only a subset of content and functionality. However, a whopping 28% of US residents use a mobile device as their primary way to access the Web . With more people relying on their mobile devices to access the Web, achieving content parity and giving users access to a full experience regardless of their device or configuration are more important than ever.

Separate Mobile Websites VS Responsive Websites.

the Web design world is entrenched in its own debate about how to address the mobile Web: creating separate mobile websites versus creating responsive websites.

Separate Mobile Websites

These kind of mobile websites uses device detection, to route mobile users to a separate dedicated website. Creating this separate experience allows the designers to tailor the mobile Web experience, but a separate design and subdomain also opens the door to some serious problems, and only a fraction of the full website’s features are included.

Another common problem with separate mobile websites is URL management. Because desktop and mobile content live at separate URLs, device detection is required to route users to the appropriate site. Unfortunately, many websites don’t go deep enough in their URL redirection, so desktop users will get sent to mobile content and vice versa. This becomes apparent when mobile content gets shared by mobile users on social networks and then gets accessed by desktop users.

A typical page on a separate mobile website is about 687 KB and, as a result, takes about 8.75 seconds to load. While that’s over the 5-second mark, the pages still weigh less than the average size.

Responsive Websites

Responsive Website has no “full site” link because it shares the same code base as the “desktop” website. Content on a responsive website lives under one roof, which gives the website a better chance of achieving content parity. And while responsive designers can (and do) hide content from small-screen users, responsive design affords less opportunity to fork the content and create disparate experiences, which would deprive certain users of valuable information and features.
As we can see, having Web content all under the same roof and URL definitely makes it easier to give visitors access to the content they’re looking for, regardless of the device they happen to be using.
A typical page on a responsive website is a massive 4.2 MB, resulting in a 25-second loading time.
Despite the fact that only the most patient of visitors would wait 25 seconds for a page to load, such a large payload creates real accessibility problems. Some devices  won’t even render the page because it’s too large.

So, Who Wins?

If there’s one lesson to learn from analyzing these websites and techniques, it’s that this stuff is genuinely hard. A lot goes into making a great mobile Web experience, and I’m personally thrilled that the Printers will take the important first steps toward making their websites mobile-friendly. Viewing the mobile web as a wonderful journey and not as a destination is absolutely essential. As we step into the deep end of multi-device Web design, we must strive to continually improve our websites and services in order to better serve our users — wherever they may be.

While the design of a Printer’s website might not determine the outcome of their success, it will certainly influence how the world perceives the Printer's qualifications and experience. And for a Web-savvy voter like myself, a website’s design might just sway my vote.