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January 14, 2014 The impact of tablets on job boards Tracy Godding, Head of UX Research

The impact of tablets on job boards

The Impact of Tablets on Job Boards

A World Before Tablets ?

The tablet has seen its status change dramatically over the last two years. The release of the first iPad in 2010 saw the tablet pinned as simply another gadget that would be adopted by commuters and those with a taste for excess and the latest gadget.

Predictions followed the thinking that tablets would mainly be used on the move, utilising 3G technology in a similar manner to smart phones but with bigger screens. However, those industry predictions from the naysayers proved misleading. At the close of 2013 tablets were on the cusp of exceeding desktop sales, with most usage happening within the home from a Wi-Fi connection, seeing tablets become an accessible alternative to the desktop.

Since then tablets have quickly risen through the ranks from pricey excessive gadget to a connected family essential. They have replaced the simple pen and paper for many industries and workplaces. But why are tablet users so important to online recruitment?

Early Days of the Tablet - All Fingers and Thumbs

Tablet owners used their devices for similar activities to a desktop user, but were still being served a smart phone experience, causing the UX to become jarring and inconsistent, leaving tablet users feeling alienated and frustrated.

In particular, webmasters were starting to realise that their websites were not yet responsive, causing the lack of the ‘hover’ function to be a big problem for tablet users.

However, as sales begun to increase the importance of the tablet user started to become clearer to web services and designers. Last Christmas saw record tablet sales, which resulted in 2013’s focus in pleasing the new influx of tablet users and the inevitable change of the home internet experience.

They even changed the biggest online sales day from the last payday of the year, to Boxing Day, when many lucky people were playing with their new tablets and browsing the sales.

Online Jobs Boards Step Up

Statistics predict that 50.5% of the UK population will own a tablet by 2016. So how is the online recruitment space going to adapt to accommodate this new type of user, complete with a new set of needs and expectations?

The most important starting point is to separate tablet users from smart phone users. Whilst their devices have similar functions, their goals are entirely different.

Research shows us that mobile users like to search and save vacancies on the move, continuing their application at home on a different device. They might also wish to email themselves the job spec for later consideration. For more and more homes the tablet is becoming the main or only WiFi connected device, the tablet is literally replacing the desktop.

So whilst the ability to apply for a job on a smart phone is becoming an increasingly important function, for tablet users it is vital.

Responsiveness is the Key for Job Search

Madgex sites have seen tablet traffic double over the space of a year and surveys are showing us that 29% of tablet users have used their device to apply for a job.

Running device reports within Google Analytics will show you how your visitors are accessing your site, even down to the browser. This information will help you to prioritise your objectives.

With the importance of utilising the technology of job boards for tablet users becoming increasingly urgent, Madgex spent time developing a responsive version of our software with a heavy focus on tablet user’s behaviour.

Optimise and Space it Out

Sometimes responsiveness isn’t enough and a few more tweaks are required to further improve the user experience.

Ensuring touch spaces are big enough and loading times are quick has been a large focus when developing this product. With tablet users less likely than smartphone users to download mobile apps, the focus on creating a responsive site for our client’s sites which works to the best of its abilities on tablet devices, has been at the forefront of our responsive technology.

Tablet culture is thriving and breeding a new kind of jobseeker – the multi-channel applicant. It is up to the online recruitment industry to provide this new job seeker with the technology they require to keep relevant in today’s job board market.

And with Google’s new Mobile Friendly algorithm update coming into force next month, which also includes tablets, if you’re not compliant, you could see your job board slipping down the rankings below those who are.