Small businesses should consider optimizing websites for tablet PCs

The digital revolution that has been building for the past few decades is continuing, and more and more consumers are adopting the latest technology to find products, services, local businesses and information about companies. As a result, websites and home pages need to adapt to the technology being used to view them.

Small businesses have been quick to embrace social media and mobile technology, but there is a new trend looming on the horizon that will need to be addressed. Market research firm Harris Interactive released the results of a survey conducted earlier this year which estimated that 20 percent of consumers will own a tablet PC by 2014, according to Internet Retailer.

The iPad may have created the template, but there will soon be a flood of tablet products on the market that customers are expected to adopt in large numbers. Small businesses will need to take advantage of this by optimizing their websites for those consumers, which can be accomplished by following some of these tips.

One of the primary features of tablet PCs is that they are meant to replace paper. More sophisticated than e-readers such as the Nook or Kindle, tablet PCs can display landscape or portrait-oriented pages in full color. More importantly, they can be used to quickly leaf through a collection of digital papers in rapid succession. Tablet PCs are poised to replace not only books, but magazines, newspapers and pamphlets. Small business web pages should be designed accordingly, with full color images, plenty of text and individual pages to flip through.

Another impressive feature of tablet PCs is their tactile quality. Videos can be paused simply by touching them, pictures and maps can be zoomed into and audio can be quickly listened to and saved. These computers are meant to give a media-rich experience, so there's no point in making a boring website that doesn't pull out all the stops. Marketers should remember that people who use tablet PCs are early adopters who embrace change and innovation before others, so good design and up-to-date features are key.

Because Apple was the first to tackle tablet PCs, they now carry a legacy of downloadable applications. Much like on smartphones, users can find programs that will help them explore businesses, find products and look at maps. Companies need to be sure that if they optimize their websites for tablet PCs, they also work heavily with services such as Yelp, FourSquare and CitySearch to ensure an integrated online approach.  

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