The Evolving Web User

The popularity of certain websites, particularly news-related sites, has been on the decline. This is largely due to the proliferation of websites competing for attention. I believe the number of users regularly using a single news or information portal is not declining, but rather that visitors are not committed to remaining for very long at the same information site.

The Evolving Web User

Today, it has become commonplace for a Web user to read their news online (at CNN, USA Today, Fox News, BBC News, etc.) and then to visit such social media services as Facebook or Youtube – perhaps to see more information, to ‘Like’ the article or news source, or to share the current news item (article or video).

Complicating the matter, much of this online navigation is now taking place using mobile devices. Such devices – and smartphones in particular — appear to be on track to become the overwhelming choice for communications and Web browsing. Although more expensive, in my opinion and in considering usefulness and comfort, tablets are more closely related to smartphones (with their touch-based interfaces) than to netbooks (really an offshoot of the PC and notebook).

The numbers speak for themselves. The number of consumers using a smartphone on a daily basis vastly outnumbers tablet users. The first billion cellphones were sold over a twenty-year period. The next billion sold within four years, and the third billion sold in a mere two years! Smartphone sales totalled 491.4 million units in 2011; a 61.3 percent increase over 2010. In fact, Smartphones, which allows wireless and mobile access to the ubiquitous Web, now make up the vast majority of phones sold today.

So long as smartphones are used to browse the Web – and there is no end in sight to this – Web site designers must take care to present the content which may be appropriately displayed on all types of mobile devices.

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This article was first published June 16th, 2012