By now you’ve no doubt heard of Apple’s ‘Retina Display’ devices. From its iPhones, to iPads and MacBook Pro’s – Apple is the most well know manufacturer of devices with these ultra-high-quality displays. But Apple, though the seeming leader in the field, is not the only company pushing for a screen resolution that is better than simply high-definition. Companies that manufacture Android phones and desktop PC’s, such as LG, Microsoft, Sony and Samsung are quickly making significant strides in this arena.
While only big-ticket computers and mobile devices feature ultra-high-quality displays at present, we have seen over and over again how these trends very quickly become the norm. Soon Retina Display will be featured on all new, good quality mobile and desktop devices.
Enter a new tech trend that you as a business, must keep your eye on. While you may not need to immediately rush to ensure that your website is ‘Retina Ready’, you will need to plan for this in the not too distant future.
What exactly is ‘Retina Display’?
Though the term Retina Display has been both coined and trademarked by Apple, it refers to a LCD (liquid crystal display) with an ultra-high pixel density, which results in super sharp, clear graphics, images and fonts. The idea behind the development of Retina Display was to deliver a viewing result over the technology that we use every day, which is as crisp and clear as printed material. A Retina Display ensures that the human eye will be unable to notice any pixilation at the typical viewing distance from a device. When developing this technology, manufacturers take into account the fact that you will view your mobile device (whether a tablet or mobile phone) at a closer range than you will your desktop computer.
Retina Display is also referred to as HiDPI (high dots-per-inch), which is a step up from Full HD which many people are familiar with.
As an example, your standard desktop computer screen will currently feature a DPI value of between 96 and 120. Retina displays feature DPI values between 220 and 445 – so you can imagine just how clear and crisp the display will be! The DPI Love website provides an easy to use tool to determine the DPI of the screen you are using and also lists a range of commonly used devices and their screen resolutions.
How does Retina Display technology impact your business?
To save loading time, most developers still ensure that images and graphics online are kept as small as possible.
This poses a problem for users of Retina Display devices, because although the device itself may be designed for greater image clarity, the websites that the user is viewing, still in all likelihood feature lower resolution images and graphics. These will then appear pixelated, or distorted to the user. In other words, most websites, including yours, won’t look as crisp and clear as they should to someone using a Retina Display device – and that is a problem when it comes to maintaining the professionalism of your brand.
But there is no reason to panic. We are still in the phase of transition. Just as it has taken time for businesses to provide mobile-responsive websites, so there is still time to convert your website design to one that is ‘Retina Ready’. While you do need to plan to do this, whether or not you need to plan for this sooner rather than later, will depend on the needs and expectations of your target audience.
Updating your website for Retina
Getting your website ‘Retina Ready’ is one of those technical jobs which is best left to your website developer. In a nutshell however, your web developer will be looking at increasing the resolution of your images and graphics.
1. Ensuring your images and graphics are not pixelated.Traditionally, web developers would use lower resolution images and graphics at 72dpi. This low resolution ensures that the website is able to load faster because the file size of the image is smaller. When you convert to a Retina Ready website, your web developer will need to change to images that are of a higher resolution, which means that the image will need to be larger. Whether your web developer uses SVGs’ (scalable vector graphics), Icon Fonts or other server based solutions, will depend on the needs of your website and your website design.
2. Catering for both Retina Display and non HiDPI devices.
Retina Display devices are designed to download high resolution images quickly, however non HiDPI device that most individuals still use, are not. The current work around for many website developers is to provide for functionality which enables the website to display either higher or lower resolution images according to the device visiting the website. This is what Apple currently does on their own website. This is a task that requires the skills of an experienced web developer, such as The Formula.
3. Allowing for increased hosting costs.
Because you will need to cater for high resolution images, which are a larger size, you may need to upgrade your hosting package. Your web developer will advise you as to what web hosting package will best suit your needs.
When should your business make the switch?
If your website is fairly new (a year or two old), you may be able to stall your website upgrade for now. Depending on the nature of your business however, you may well benefit from the upgrade to a Retina Ready website sooner rather than later.
Target Market: Deciding when to make the switch will rely heavily upon when your target market is likely to begin using Retina Display devices. If for example, your market is to be found within the higher LSM (living standards measure) segment, or if your customers are particularly tech savvy, the chances are that they will already have a Retina Display device. You should consider making the switch soon.
Product / media intensive websites: If you run an online shop in which visitors make buying decisions based on the images that they see on your website, or if you in any way feature large quantities of images (think estate agents and photographers) then you may want to begin planning for the switch to displaying higher resolution images.
You provide digital magazines or catalogues: Your audience will more than likely read your publication using a tablet, or larger mobile device and many will already be using a HiDPI device. Changing to a Retina Ready publication is something you should consider.
Customers engage with you via a mobile app: If your business uses a mobile app to engage with your customers, then the chances are that many of them will be obtaining HiDPI devices soon. Consider planning ahead to cater to them.
You’re in the market for a new website: If you are in the market to design and develop a brand new website, then it is definitely in the best interests of your online marketing to design a fully mobile responsive, Retina Ready website from the get-go.
Offer your customers the best website experience
Technology is continually evolving and as professional website developers, we at The Formula in Cape Town believe that it’s our job to keep you informed of the latest developments and web design techniques to help you remain at the forefront of your internet marketing.
The first experience that prospects will have of your company is often that of your website, so it is important that to make that experience the best one possible.
By helping you choose the best possible web design and development solutions, which are tailored specifically to meet your unique needs as a business, our talented and experienced team of marketers and professional website designers and developers will help to ensure that we boost the success of your business through an outstanding website!
Put us to the test with a FREE online marketing consultation and let us help you to plan, design and develop an affordable, yet professional, modern website that will help your business to soar.
Call Garth or Shiraz on 021 556 5661 or email us: email@example.com to set up your FREE online marketing consultation today.