Should you consider tablets for website design?

Back when tablet computers such as the iPad first launched, commentators were quick to declare that they would quickly become the next big thing in computing and that few people would still be using traditional desktop computers or laptops.

Since then, the trend has been rather more mixed and tablets have faced falling sale numbers which begs an obvious question for web designers: is it still worth including for iPads and other tablet computers when you’re designing a website?

The straightforward answer to this question is that it shouldn’t matter. If you’re using the modern and responsive design techniques that Google and other major search engines are now advocating, your website should easily be able to reshape itself for any screen size with ease. Of course, any experienced web developer will be well aware that the reality is rarely this simple. Even the best responsive webs are designed with a desktop view and a mobile view in mind. The question is whether or not developers should be taking the time to slip a ‘best for tablet’ version between these two extremes.

The easiest way to come to an answer is to look at your own usage statistics and see what they tell you. Don’t just look at the proportions of people using your website right now but take time to look at the trends and what they’re telling you. If the overall proportion of tablet users on your website is trending upwards, then it’s probably worth taking them into account in your design. Of course, if you don’t already have a website to draw stats from, then you’ll probably have to go with industry trends or any insight that you can get hold of to help you make a decision. So long as it’s data driven, you have a far better chance of building an effective site.