Why Your Business Needs Phablet Web Design
by Andrew Millar
When cell phones first hit the market, they rocked the world with their brick like size. In the 90’s, on the TV series Saved by the Bell, the infamous Zack Morris gave a sense of preppy identity to the hands-free, calling anywhere and everywhere. In a quick wave of portable fashion, the cell phone moved from large and in charge to an itty-bitty tool for the masses.
Unfortunately, those archaic flip phones of the past did little more than two way calling and 160-character texts. Our insatiable need to take the Internet and social media with us wherever expanded into smartphones and tablets. The “mobile office” was given a new perspective.
Finding room for the tablet, laptop, smartphone and subsequent chargers cluttered lives, cars, purses and bags. In an effort to simplify things, tablets and smartphones were smashed together. They had a baby. It is fondly known as a ‘phablet.’
Larger than a smartphone and smaller than a tablet, a phablet is a smartphone with a 5-inch to 6-inch screen. These babies are still small enough to slip in the back pocket of most jeans and powerful enough to draft that business brief.
First introduced by the Android-based Dell Streak in 2010, the processing systems have grown. Sure, battery life can still be questionable on these oversized talking devices, but luckily, now you only need the one charger.
In the last four years phablet designers have attempted to leap and bound past their competition, maximizing pixel density, improving screen resolution and developing more and more apps which rival even some computers in their functionality.
Users are not just interested in the all-in-one devices. They are hungry for them. Four years later and the fad of phablets has proven to be anything but a dying interest. These large screen monstrosities have become lifelines for everything from day planners and address books to cameras and navigational guides. Heck, they even serve as babysitters for the helter-skelter parent.
Today, being without your phablet is paramount to being naked. Even if there are times when it is appropriate to be in your birthday suit, it is hardly a way you want to walk around town.
With so many users clutching their phones, they are surfing the web while walking. They are surfing the web while eating. They are often surfing the web while in meetings, sitting in cars at red lights and trying to survive their 8-year-old daughter’s two-hour piano recital.
As a business, optimizing your website for phablets is essential.
Why? Because if your website isn’t responsive, it won’t load properly. Typically in these instances, user experience is so bad your customers and prospects will look elsewhere before your website has even finished loading.
When a website doesn’t have a phablet design, text will often load too small and look cramped. Even scarier, is the text which doesn’t load at all. Yes, phablet designers have made crazy advancements in their capabilities, but they still don’t have the same functionality as computers and laptops. Options such as hover boxes are not available and that can mean your text — the information you painstakingly developed to sell your product and service — won’t be displayed.
By creating website which has a mix of responsive design — a design which re-sizes to its environment — and an adaptive design — a design which recognizes its environment — your business will no longer be telling phablet users they are unimportant. Because, that is what those designs do.
Designs which don’t load properly tell a prospect: We have enough business.
If your website is not optimized for phablets, you are really saying to your prospective customer: “No thanks. We already have enough business. Try the other guy.”