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Is the death of dedicated desktop design nigh? Or are we still dependent on full-scale visuals? 

“You don’t need a desktop website, according to John Mueller.

“In a Hangout on Friday, Mueller, a Google webmaster trends analyst, said that having a mobile site should suffice. He added that going mobile-first or mobile-only wouldn’t hurt a page’s rank, even in desktop search results.

“Muller explained: “I think what I’d try to make sure is that your site still works on desktop and that it doesn’t show an error, but rather someone on desktop can still access it.

“What generally happens is, we just include the mobile site in our search results, like any other site, and we will present it to desktop users.”

“It’s worth noting that while Mueller said marketers don’t need desktop sites anymore, he didn’t advise anyone not to build one.”

To read the full article, visit Search Engine Watch.

Mueller’s mobile-first recommendation comes after Ofcom release report stating that smartphones have now overtaken desktops/laptops as the most popular device for getting online in the UK

“Ofcom’s 2015 Communications Market Report finds that a third (33%) of internet users see their smartphone as the most important device for going online, compared to 30% who are still sticking with their laptop. Two thirds of people now own a smartphone, using it for nearly two hours every day to browse the internet, access social media, bank and shop online. The rise in smartphone surfing marks a clear shift since 2014, when just 22% turned to their phone first, and 40% preferred their desktop or laptop.

“Smartphones have become the hub of our daily lives and are now in the pockets of two thirds (66%) of UK adults, up from 39% in 2012. The vast majority (90%) of 16-24 year olds own one; but 55-64 year olds are also joining the smartphone revolution, with ownership in this age group more than doubling since 2012, from 19% to 50%. We now spend almost twice as long online with our smartphones than on desktops or laptops. On average, adult mobile users spent nearly two hours online each day using a smartphone in March 2015 (1 hour and 54 minutes), compared to just over an hour on laptops and desktops (1 hour and nine minutes).”

To read the full report, visit Ofcom.

The Verge’s Tom Warren rejects the concept of a mobile-only future, embraces the digital freedom users now have

“PCs in their traditional sense are dying off, but not because they don’t matter. If you asked me if I thought my boiler was important I’d say no, but it’s something I use all day. That’s the same for my PC. It’s not as obviously important as my mobile device, because I take my smartphone with me everywhere. However, if my PC stopped working I’d freak out as much as not having central heating or hot water. My smartphone is created for quick web queries, responding to messages or emails, or playing a mobile game when I’m bored, but for anything else during the day I switch over to my laptop to avoid the frustrating experience of the mobile web.

“2015 is the definition of an era where there are multiple choices for computing, where you can choose a device and your data will follow. It’s also a year where mobile data networks and devices are fast and sufficient for browsing from a phone, and a time when PCs have matured enough that you don’t need to replace the one you bought years ago if it’s still working. As iOS9 turns the iPad more into more of a PC, and Microsoft turns phones into PCs, the questions over which devices will be important in the future won’t be around their traditional forms, but their function. PCs will continue to evolve, as will the versatility of devices that are shaping the mobility of computing. Perhaps it’s time to kill off the idea of “post-PC” in favor of just personal computing. After all, smartphones, tablets, and laptops are all just PCs anyway.”

To read the full article, visit The Verge.

Google’s John Mueller has since opted to clarify his earlier comments, says shifting to a mobile-only approach isn’t best practice

In a Google+ post, Mueller said: “With regards to “a mobile-only site is fine” scenario, I’d just like to clarify that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should, nor that it’s a best practice. If all we have from a business is a mobile-friendly site, then we’d rather index that than nothing. That obviously doesn’t make it a great practice, though. A good way to make it work in both worlds would be to have a site that uses responsive design techniques to adjust to the size of the user’s device/settings.

“I can imagine some sites starting off with only a mobile-friendly website (it’s kinda like businesses that use a dedicated mobile app instead of a traditional desktop-friendly website), but I’m sure most would do well to also provide an equally awesome experience for users with larger screens.”

To read the full post, visit Search Engine Roundtable.

Cisco’s Marketing Manager, Diane Pease doesn’t think we’re quite ready to abandon desktop sites just yet

“It might be interesting to see down the road if Mueller might be right, but at the end of the day, there are things that you just find easier to do on a desktop.You can use Excel on your phone, but if you’re trying to crank out some serious stuff, you’re going to want a physical keyboard.”

Multitasking is another reason Pease finds the prospect of mobile-only sites impractical.

She added: “I usually have five to seven windows open at any one time and I’ll be hopping from one thing to the next. Having multiple screens up – that’s very tricky on a phone. You’re looking to move in and out of apps, and that’s not user-friendly. But at some point, will it be easier to do these tasks on a phone? Mueller’s statement can lead to that question: how could we get there and what are the things we find we still need our desktops for?”

To read the full article, visit Search Engine Watch.

Fortune Magazine’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt reflects on Steve Jobs’ apprehension for a mobile-only landscape

Steve Jobs famously said when asked in 2010 whether tablets would replace PCs: “When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks. But as people moved more towards urban centers, people started to get into cars. I think PCs are going to be like trucks. Less people will need them. And this transformation is going to make some people uneasy… because the PC has taken us a long way. They were amazing. But it changes. Vested interests are going to change. And, I think we’ve embarked on that change. Is it the iPad? Who knows? Will it be next year or five years? … We like to talk about the post-PC era, but when it really starts to happen, it’s uncomfortable.”

To read the full article, visit Fortune Magazine.

Do you rely on your phone to organise your daily grind? Or are you still checking in with your desktop for the bulk of your digital activities?

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