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The mobile web is the web

Yesterday, Laurie Voss tweeted about the latest Nielsen Total Audience Report, noting:

I knew that mobile web overtook desktop web in 2014, but TIL in 2020 US consumers spent 88% of their internet time on mobile devices. Forget mobile-first, it’s nearly mobile-only.

WOW! I’m sure the global pandemic played a roll in those numbers to some extent, but this has a big impact on how we build things for the web.

From my perspective this means that performance becomes more important than ever.

While many web developers use high end devices and have fast internet connections, many of the folks who use the things we build do not. They’re only older devices that struggle hard with lots of JavaScript, and run on slow internet connections.

It also means that all of those fancy “hover-only” flourishes people like to put into websites are extra bytes that most users never see or experience. We should be designing for touch, or better yet, multi-modal input, rather than just “clicks and hovers.”

We should be looking at web experiences on tall-and-narrow or wide-and-squat viewports.

How does the content look? Is anything cropped, or clipped, or bleeding off-screen? Does everything work?

I’m not in the “mobile-only” camp, as Laurie says (I think he’s being intentionally silly there), but I do think we should be prioritizing mobile far more than most of us do.