Does your website cater to the tech needs of your website visitors?

Does your website cater to the tech needs of your website visitors?

Macworld is reporting the results of some of the latest Gartner research showing that Apple is the number one computer manufacturer in the Western European education market for Q1 2009 with a 26.4 percent market share. At 26.4 percent, the Mac OS is emerging as a serious contender in the very competitive desk and laptop market.

My only reason for flagging this is to pose a question to financial services marketers -  are your online services and website Operating System (OS) and browser independent? I know from experience that some financial institutions have a habit of designing their online services to their own in-house standards. While Head of Internet for Investec Asset Management I had to design the online valuation service and website to work with Internet Explorer and Windows only. This meant each service would not work properly (if at all) with  any other OS or browser software. I was not happy about this to say the least.

From my perspective it did not make sense to go to the trouble of spending marketing dollars driving traffic to a website that did not work for certain audience segments – segments that were likely to be affluent and possibly influential (many of the mavens I know use Macs).

This raises an important issue which many marketers overlook when building or redesigning a site. Before doing anything I recommend taking a good look at your web analytics first. This can provide you with insight about your typical user and how they are accessing your site. From a technical perspective I recommend looking at:

  • The browsers being used – Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox etc
  • Operating Systems – and whether or not any of these are clearly identifiable as ‘mobile’
  • Screen resolution – this can be very important. Consider how your new pages will look at different screen resolutions. Ensure that key messages appear above the page ‘fold’ for the most popular resolutions
  • The Flash version being used. If you are tempted to design a site in Flash, make sure suficient numbers of your audience have the correct version installed. For those who don’t, ensure that an alternative ‘traditional’ HTML site is available.
  • Java support – what proportion of your audience have Java enabled. Many people consider Java essential today. Looking at my own analytics stats I can see that almost 12% of my site audience do not have Java enabled. If your sites operation relies heavily on Java running consider the audience you might not be servicing – (Investec, please take note).

By paying attention to the information at your fingertips you can learn a great deal about your audience and how as a service and product provider you can best cater to their needs.

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