Archive for the ‘UI/UX’ Category
Whether it’s “Mobile Web is Dead” or “Mobile Apps Will Soon be Dead“, the last two years have seen some sensationalist opinions by journalists on both sides of the web versus apps debate. And the argument erupted earlier this year after Mark Zuckerberg made a searing statement claiming HTML5 to be Facebook’s biggest mistake.
This past Tuesday evening the battle raged on, albeit in a less apocalyptic tone, as I had the pleasure of attending a good old fashioned mobile web vs apps debate hosted by Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer from Walmart Labs (@WalmartLabs).
Sidenote: I’ve seen Ben and Dion (former key WebOS team members at Palm) present a couple different times over the years and they do a great job in making things interesting and bringing a lot of history into the discussion—Tuesday’s meetup was no different.
Fresh off the plane, coming back from Breaking Development conference (@bdconf) in Dallas, packed with 3 days of stimulating presentations and discussions with such Web thought leaders like Brad Frost (@brad_frost), Lyza Gardner (@lyzadanger) and Luke Wroblewski (@lukew) to name a few. Right off the bat, 2 points were clear to me. First, how far Web technologies have come in the past couple of years and second, how hard we still need to work to bring mobile Websites to 2012.
What do I mean by bringing mobile Websites to 2012 you ask?
We’ve written several articles, hosted a number of discussions and argued on numerous panels against miniaturization. The reason is quite simple – shrinking down web assets and stripping features to a minimum to fit a smaller mobile screen significantly limits engagement opportunities. Miniaturization also ignores that mobile user behavior is influenced by the inherent characteristics of the mobile device – location, click-to-call, text messaging, barcode scanning, swiping or tapping. So if the website’s content is simply miniaturized for mobile, it fails to take advantage of some of the powerful features that tablets and smartphones offer.
While I can go on-and-on about the problems with miniaturization (and its twin brother, screen scraping), for once, I’ll use a comic to illustrate our point of view (shared by Brad Frost during this week’s Breaking Development Conference in Dallas). Cheers!
This week, Microsoft put its hat into the tablet war with Surface. Now, on the surface, it may seem nothing more than a new competitor looking to take a bite out of Apple’s iPad stronghold on the tablet market… But below the surface, the announcement has a far more significant impact for businesses and their mobile web strategies.
The significance surrounds something that’s been happening for a while: people are moving away from the traditional home computer and embracing mobile. Because mobile devices are used in a different context than laptops or desktops, businesses looking to reach their customers using the mobile channel are presented with new challenges and opportunities. One of the key challenges is optimizing an existing web-based offering for the mobile web. While it is important for a brand or company to maintain consistency between their traditional and mobile websites, it is also important to recognize that people use their mobile devices in a different context than their PCs. In addition, tablets and smartphones have mobile-specific features that are not available on PC’s. As such, when designing for mobile web, both the mobile context and mobile functionality have to be taken into the account.
As part of the Surface announcement, Microsoft said the device “…works and plays the way you [the user] want it to.” This speaks to the growing trend that mobile users are looking for a personal and relevant experience. As a result, it is imperative, now more than ever, for businesses to think about the kind of “mobile-centric” user experience they want to offer. But having a great idea is not enough – they have to be able to deliver that compelling and relevant user-experience across a myriad of mobile device types. A solid mobile development platform or framework will enable that.
Continued mobile growth presents a prime opportunity for companies to reach and interact with their customers 24/7. By developing a “mobile first” web strategy and enabling its implementation with a mobile publishing platform (such as SmartPath), companies can now provide the enjoyable, useful and relevant user experience their customers demand.
The Bottom Line: Mobile has become a way of life and we’re just scratching the surface of its potential.