Perhaps it was the exodus from the box format of viewing video to the wide screens on TVs and computer/laptop screens that fueled it, or decades of default photography in landscape mode. As smartphones entered the scene in 2009, I recall constantly reminding clients I was working with for online marketing and web design (along with my mom – and just about anyone else in her generation or older) to turn their phones horizontal for pictures and video. Sometimes I felt like Ross from that episode of Friends when they were trying to get a couch up the stairs any time I saw someone starting to take a pic while holding a smartphone upright. Instead of “Pivot…. Pivot… PIVOT!!!”, I would insist “Horizontal!”
Of course, from 2009 to 2013, the majority of internet usage was on desktop or laptop, meaning widescreen viewing was ideal. By 2013, only 16.2% of internet usage was from mobile devices. We’re still waiting for total percentages in 2019, but we know mobile already bested computers and tablets for online activity in 2017 – edging in at just over 50% – and again in 2018 with 52.2%. Naturally, that number is expected to grow again for 2019.