Designing for a global audience

Jun 21, 2015

In previous blogs I have commented on how the website designer and the client must consider that their target audience will more than likely view the website through a multitude of devices and screen sizes. I showed how the devices and screen sizes that people use have changed greatly in just a few years.

The point to this was that whilst a website designer needs to design flexibly, the creative process of bringing a client through the design phase to sign off also has to change.

I followed up with another blog looking at how screen resolutions in use have changed. The figures that I used were world wide usage statistics but this time, I have produced charts from markets that I work or have worked in. The listed resolutions do not necessarily represent the top 9 resolutions used in each country but I have selected them in order to compare like for like.

Singapore, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom are mature countries when it comes to adopting new technology so I would expect some similarity between them. Therefore I've chosen to compare them to India, a country that in many ways is still developing (despite a nuclear weapons and space program).

Screen resolutions used in May 2015

Screen resolutions used in May 2015 in India, Singapore, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom

For all but India, the resolutions are all near or in the top 9 resolutions used. For example, in Singapore the listed resolutions accounted for 65% of all resolutions used. In India, the listed resolutions cover only 32% of all resolutions used and suggest that it is lagging behind in terms of uptake of new gadgets.

The results are as expected but it's interesting to note that the 480x800 resolution which is used in almost 10% of cases in India are just tiny proportions of resolutions used in the other countries. This all highlights yet again that website designers must "know their user".

The actual top 9 screen resolutions for each country account for the total resolutions used as follows:

  • Singapore - 65%
  • United Kingdom - 68%
  • Hong Kong - 62%
  • India - 32%

Responsive Design

Employing Responsive Web Design is one way to deal with the multitude of device and resolutions being used to view the web but something also to consider is page size.

A 1mb page may load fine in one country but in a country with poor technological infrastructure, that beautifully crafted 1mb page will not be seen because the user will get bored waiting.

That's not to say we don't need to care about web page size in developed countries. As I discussed in my article Time to lose some weight, web pages should always be as small as possible and other techniques employed to ensure that pages load quickly. There are various websites which test website speed and are a crucial tool in the website developer's armoury.

I should also add that a faster loading page will be viewed more favourably by search engines such as Google and may lead to higher search rankings.

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If you would like to know more about how I've helped to transform some the world's biggest and well known businesses, across diverse industries in the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Hong Kong, then please drop me a line. Let's have a chat and I'll buy the coffee!

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