Trends on Tuesday: Smartphone Market Growth Makes Mobile-Friendly a Must

Mar 31, 2015
3-D mobile smart phones and pie chart

everythingpossible, iStock, Thinkstock

ComScore reported last week that smartphones now make up a whopping 75% of the mobile market. That’s up from 65% just one year ago. This means three-quarters of Americans over the age of 13 now have smartphones, and they are accessing government services with them more and more.

This is an undeniable fact because earlier this month the White House announced the Digital Analytics Dashboard. The announcement noted the importance of mobile-friendliness, stating that the Dashboard showed 33% of all traffic to federal sites over a 90-day period came from people using phones and tablets. Over the same period last year, the number was 24%. This number will grow, and the problem is that many federal digital properties are NOT mobile-friendly. In fact, mobile-unfriendliness was identified on specific properties listed on the Dashboard.

While we think mobile first for the future, mobile-friendliness is a must-have now. Digital properties that are not mobile-friendly will soon lose search steam, lose user trust, lose users and head to the [app graveyard](/2014/07/29/trends-on-tuesday-avoid-the-app-graveyard/ “Trends on Tuesday: Avoid the “App Graveyard”"). While responsive web design implementation is happening piecemeal in all organizations, the MobileGov Community of Practice has identified numerous challenges for government when it comes to mobile web.

However, there are a number of agencies who have created mobile products, and many have shared what they’ve learned (see this case of the Department of Education’s yeoman’s work to get three websites mobile-friendly). Agencies are helping each other become more mobile-friendly with our Federal Crowdsource Mobile Testing Program, where feds are testing other feds’ mobile products and sharing lessons learned. Agencies can also use Sites.USA.Gov to become mobile-friendly out of the gate.

I said in January that mobile is always going to be a moving target, but if agencies don’t become mobile-friendly for today’s users, that target is going to be even harder to hit in the future.