Serif in Education

Desktop vs Mobile – are students learning the difference?

In a typical day, we use our mobiles a lot. We might check out the news on the train on the way to work, take a quick look at Facebook during our lunch break in the café, buy that new top we’d been wanting on the train home from work, look for holidays online while we’re watching TV, and perhaps take a quick look at Instagram before you we go to sleep (we’ve all had that moment when our phone falls on our face, ouch). It’s a fact that we use our mobiles a lot to surf the internet, which means internet sites need to cater for this trend.

It is no longer a case of asking whether mobile marketing is important, we know it is! It is now a question of understanding how consumers behave when using different types of mobile devices and what their preferences are.

The facts are all there: data from the Global Web Index shows that 80% of internet users own a smartphone. Data from KPCB mobile technology trends by Mary Meeker shows that digital media time in the USA is now significantly higher at 51% compared to desktop 42%. Last year, Google told us that more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan. (It is interesting to note that Google groups tablets with desktops.) Journalist Stoney deGeyter says: “I think we are well beyond the point where we are making websites ‘mobile friendly’ or ‘mobile ready’. Doing so still places the focus on the desktop, with mobile design and optimisation just being an add-on. If that’s the way you’re looking at it, you have already fallen behind.”

So when building a website, are students learning to optimise both experiences?

Some experts even think we should be shifting our mindset from ‘mobile friendly’ to ‘mobile first’. Perhaps the most frequent misconception we hear about mobile websites is that they are just smaller versions of their regular or “desktop” websites. In contrast to the teeny tiny text and awkward graphics and navigation experience that you have with a desktop website on your smartphone, a mobile website is specifically designed and scaled to function brilliantly on our small smartphone screens.

Yes, sometimes we want to see the original desktop version, but mobile websites will often give you the choice to revert back to this. At Serif, we know websites have gone mobile. We help introduce students to real world web design skills. WebPlus X 8 provides an intuitive layout to create both desktop and mobile sites. Pupils can even set up mobile device detection on their site to consider their end user. Compatible with all the latest formats including MP4 and Quicktime, WebPlus X8 enables pupils to add video and multimedia to their site, which they can view and test on any device. ​

As for desktop websites, full site proofing tools, including a spell-check, image optimiser and download time estimator mean that pupils can test for slow download speeds and reduce file sizes to ensure content is appropriate for the web and our busy lifestyles.