In interactive technology there’s always a “next big thing” which gets hyped in the media ad nauseum. Our job as an agency is to carefully assess the next big thing and determine if it’s actually something our clients should be considering, or just a lot of hot air. Currently, the mobile web is getting a lot of attention, as more and more people buy smartphones and begin viewing mobile versions of websites on these devices. After looking over the facts, I’ve come to the completely impartial view that the mobile web is the single greatest achievement that mankind will ever see.
Ok, that was a bit much, but here’s some data that should at least give you an idea of what has me excited.
• The mobile web is growing 8 times faster than desktop web did back in its heyday.
• Smartphones will overtake PC in sales next year.
• 250,000 mobile devices will be activated today.
• In the next 2 years, 1 billion people will be heavy users of mobile web. This doesn’t include casual users.
And perhaps the most important statistic:
• In the next three years, more people will view websites on mobile devices than on desktop computers.
Given the limitations of smartphones, this might seem hard to believe. They have such tiny screens compared the behemoth monitor you might have connected to your computer at home. So what’s the appeal of mobile websites? One important reason is that, out of necessity, the mobile web forces us to focus on the information that people really want to see, rather than the junk that can find its way into a website (like pictures of the CEO’s dog). For example, the mobile version of Facebook is widely regarded as a better experience than the full version on desktop computers because it boils the site down to its essentials. It’s easier and quicker to get around. This is especially important because as the web has matured, people have begun to expect information quicker, and with fewer steps. Well designed mobile sites do just that.
With this expected boom in mobile web usage, companies should be planning a mobile version of their site now. Even better, it’s a perfect time to have your mobile site designed, and then revamp your existing desktop site with the same eye towards paring things down to what matters most. And for a company without a website, developing the mobile version even before you start on the desktop version is a great idea. It’s a brave new world out there. We can help.