Once upon a time almost every person accessed a web site in one way – they used a Windows PC and Internet Explorer.

The way we use the Internet has changed dramatically since then.

In 2010 over 98% of the people that came to this web site used a desktop or laptop with a tiny group of people accessing from a mobile device like a tablet or smartphone (the top pie chart, blue for desktops and laptops).

Visitors over this last month are using a significantly different mix of device with 47% of people now using mobile devices – 30% of people using a smartphone and another 17% using a tablet device (the bottom pie chart, phones in green, tablets in orange).

There has also been an overall increase in the number of people accessing the web site in that time.

The web site that we used to run was accessible by mobile devices, but it wasn’t very usable.

The new web site is far more usable people with mobile devices because it uses something called Responsive Design. What this does is change the look of the web site depending on the size of the screen that is using it. For a wide screen on a laptop or a tablet the information is shown in a way that fills the width of the screen. For a smartphone user who’s screen is tall and thin it shows the elements of the site in a way that’s optimised for them; it also simplifies the pictures and text to better match a mobile user’s needs.

For those of you who have only ever seen the web site on a desktop, this is what it looks like on an iPhone (as an example):

Mobile Web Site

Clicking on the turquoise circle with three lines through it will show the site menu.

Scrolling down the page will reveal all of the same information that a desktop user sees.

As a final note; if you are using a desktop or laptop and you change the size of the window then the way that the information is displayed will also be changed to keep it usable.