It’s no surprise people are spending more time online. New York State’s PAUSE order went into effect in mid-March, and since then most states around the country followed suit in some fashion with their own version of the stay-at-home order. With more people working from home or just putting in some serious couch surfing, the way we browse and interact with the internet is changing.
What Has Changed?
New York Times analysts have shown that since March, people have been shying away from mobile usage and heading back to desktops. With public life pretty much at a standstill, people aren’t watching or engaging on the go. Instead, most are settling into domestic life, taking full advantage of larger screens, comfier couches, and even working from bed.
Not surprisingly, with a larger screen just a desk away, people are watching and engaging more on their computers. However, social video like FaceTime and video chatting through Instagram and Facebook have increased. For Apple users, it’s just too easy to click one button and FaceTime a friend. Zoom does have an iOS app, but most users prefer to sit at their computers since the app and tablet version aren’t as robust as the desktop version.
Initially, online dating apps actually saw an increase in usage as most people were at home bored during quarantine. However, as the seriousness of the virus sets in, many users stopped using the apps altogether. Similar to dating, sports can’t happen unless you can actually be around people. Sports, an arena where mobile usage has been on the increase for years, finally slowed its growth. There are only so many marble races one person can watch on ESPN.
What Are the Implications?
The fallout out from Covid-19 and its related lockdowns will be felt for years, if not decades. Mobile’s rise to the top has been nearly halted in its path. Companies and brands that felt they could get by without a proper website or desktop portal are realizing it might be the time to create one. Advertisers are reverting back to large, vertical desktop displays. Communication is becoming a more important part of the relationship between user and brand, increasing the amount of companies offering video and text chatting from a desktop. Some thoughts for your brand moving forward:
Audit and Optimize Your Site for Page Speed
If your business relies heavily on mobile or more face-to-face communication, you may have let your website fall behind. Now is a great time to check for any out of date information, dead links, and redundancies. Ultimately, your site will look cleaner and run faster. Use this website to check your site’s speed.
Review UX and Improve and Iterate Where Possible
It may have been a while since you’ve gone through the process of using your website. Sit down and go through it like a customer or consumer might. You may discover your user interface isn’t as seamless as you thought it was. Ensure it’s as easy to use and understand as possible.
Create Fresh Content
Easier said than done. If your website produces articles, videos, or audio, it’s time to repackage the evergreen content and replace out of date information. Users are more likely than ever to spend some time engaging with your website, so you want to give them something to return to, especially if they’re repeat visitors.
Add Social and Payment Tools
A simple update can make a big difference. Adding widgets and buttons for payment tools like PayPal and Apple Pay can streamline your checkout process. Including quick links to your Facebook, Twitter, and other socials helps to increase engagement and awareness of those platforms among customers seeking out more information and even help with your product.
For many companies, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a time to take a step back and take a broader look at their digital offerings, from mobile to desktop. Shoring up out of date information and improving the access and user experience of a brand’s website has never been more important. With the future so uncertain and desktop use continuing to increase, there’s no reason not to take a second or even third look at how your customers are digitally interacting with your brand