News Articles

Monday, January 9, 2012

Will the CES trend for larger screens lead to poorer mobile web sites?

James Rosewell writes:

This year’s CES event in Las Vegas promises to be the biggest yet. It’ll be packed with a diverse collection of consumer-focussed technology, from cloud services to cars, and will see many of the world’s leading electronics manufacturers launching brand new products.

There’ll be mobile phones (although some of the biggest announcements are likely to take place at Mobile World Congress next month), there’ll be tablets, there’ll be gaming devices, there’ll be sat nav – and there’ll be many other products that now include their own mobile data connection.

When you’ve got mobile data, it’s usually an obvious step to add a browser... and before you know it, consumers are browsing the internet from a device that was never really intended to visit conventional web sites.

However, despite the diversity of browser capabilities, screen sizes, operating systems, user interfaces and input methods, we’ve spotted a trend.

Devices are getting bigger. Sat-nav systems now have larger screens. Smartphones are becoming ‘super phones’, growing towards the size of tablets. And – despite the occasional rumour – there’s no sign of Apple’s market-leading iPad launching a smaller-screen iPad 3 or iPad 4.

Is bigger really better?  Well, it certainly appears to be more usable. Mobile advertising business recently revealed figures that showed a simple correlation between screen size and click-through rate. Bigger screens meant more responses to online ads, whether it was iPhone vs iPad or BlackBerry vs PlayBook.

Yet could it be that larger displays are simply more popular because they’re closer in size to desktop and laptop computers, while consumers are struggling to use the web on smaller-screen devices because sites haven’t been tailored to fit?

It’s certainly true that ease of use leads to increased usage – which sets a challenge for web designers.

Could ads specifically designed for smaller screen devices and the various input methods available perform as well as their larger screen counterparts?  In developing markets where the small screen dominates, the answer to this question will becoming increasingly important for brands wishing to grow revenue streams in these markets. offers a portfolio of products for web developers and online businesses, including an entirely free mobile device detection solution that can be used commercially. James Rosewell is managing director of and is also part of the team at

Author: The Fonecast
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3 comments on article "Will the CES trend for larger screens lead to poorer mobile web sites?"


Anne Thomas

1/10/2012 8:18 AM

There will always be new devices, new sizes, new ideas which is why it's so important to design your mobile site to be responsive to all existing possibilities and evolve to cater for all future possibilities. We encourage our customers to design once and publish to all by letting our technology detect what device is visiting the site and present the right, high quality mobile experinece for them including images, ad banners etc... So in answer to your question, no, larger or new screen sizes shouldn't lead to poorer mobile web experiences. Funny how people used to say the opposite..will small screen sizes lead to poorer web experiences :)


James Rosewell

1/10/2012 8:36 AM

In response to Anne. Thank you for reading and commenting.

There a reason printed adverts for the same product vary depending on where they're displayed. You don't see the same advert being used in magazines, 1/4 page newspaper adverts, bill boards, the interent and on underground trains. There are common themes such a images, fonts, logos, etc but a human designer had to think about the different medium used. It's the same for anything but the most simple message in electronic form. Human designers need to think about the device being used and its capabilities including screen size, data connection and input methods.


Anne Thomas

1/10/2012 11:05 AM

Absolutely and thanks for your response - the technology doesn't take one image and resize for all, that wouldn't work. neither does it take a handful of the simplest components and present a dumbed down offering. It takes the core design, essence ideas and themes, different sizes, slightly different layouts and combines with the knowledge of all devices we have including screen size, resoultion, quirks etc..and presents accordingly. Understanding the device is key but more so is understanding what the consumer is doing/achieving/experiencing with that mobile device then giving them a high quality, graphically rich experience suitable to them at that moment in time. Exciting times ahead with so many opportunities opening for different experiences, big and small!

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