Is Desktop for the web dead?

The answer to the question in the title will be surprise to anyone in web development, but…

Pretty much, yeah.

The raise of smartphones and tablets has changed the landscape and the trend of users moving away from their desktops towards smaller screens has never stopped. I was confronted with this truth once again, today. When looking up statistics for a future project, I found search statistics for a keyword. The statistics claimed that out of 12,000 searches only seven were made from a desktop (sized screen).

You read that correctly. Only seven out of twelve thousand searches for a term were made on a desktop. I decided to do a quick poll and what I heard backed up those numbers. When most people have to look something up they don’t bother starting their PC. They prefer to just pick up their phone and make the search from there. It’s easier, faster and just within reach.

Some of the users I talked to haven’t touched a desktop PC in years. They do everything on their phone and tablets and don’t have a use for a PC. They scoff at the idea of having to walk over to the tower, navigate through Windows and figure out how to find Google. Why make things so complicated?

With that in the back of my mind, I asked them what they do when a site doesn’t scale for their screen. Simple. “I exit the site and try the next one.”

You know what that means, right? Responsive websites are no longer “nice to have”. They have become the de facto expectation of visitors. And their patience with your website if it’s not responsive yet? Simply non-existent. Maybe you already know all of this. But how are you going to convince your clients of upgrading that ancient website they’re not willing to part with?

Tell them that only 0,0005% of Google users can properly see his website, and that they’ll leave their funky old site when they visit it. If that doesn’t impress them, nothing will.

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