There Is No Mobile Internet!

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It’s time to stop thinking about the Internet and online communication in the context of a device, be it desktop, tablet or mobile. Advances by Google and Apple have heightened consumer expectations, which now require stricter focus from us to create seamless online communications — communications that work everywhere and that get their point across. We need to embrace a device-agnostic approach to communicating with connected consumers and forget the idea of a “mobile Internet”. There is only One Web to experience.

A Quiet Change

At the beginning of June, Google published on its Webmaster Central Blog its “Recommendations for Building Smartphone-Optimized Websites1.” Its recommendations are that responsiveness — or, where necessary, device-specific HTML — is the way to build websites for today. Both methods are based on all devices accessing one URL, which in Google’s words makes it “easier for your users to interact with, share, and link to…”

Following the recommendation means making most of your Web content accessible across devices. It ensures that each link shared across the Web leads back to the same place and that, irrespective of the user’s device, everyone gets the same design experience. It aims to standardize Web design approaches, but also to standardize user experience expectations.

Shortly after, Apple announced a lot of thrilling updates to iOS 6. One of the least talked about was Safari’s iCloud tabs2. This syncs your open browser tabs and allows you to continue browsing from where you left off on another device. Google’s recent version of Chrome for iOS has the same feature. The result? The ultimate cross-media surfing experience, a digital doggy bag.

After many years of Internet people working on standards, technologies and practices to bring about a One Web experience, the two companies made a big push towards making it a reality. We are now a big step closer to, in the words of the W3C3, “an Internet where as far as reasonably possible, the same information and services are available to users irrespective of the device they are using.” Well, that is only if website owners and brands get their act together and change their old ways. To do so, they will need to recognize that things aren’t what they seem and aren’t what many are still peddling.

Old Habits, Old Stereotypes

A couple of years ago, mobile devices couldn’t even handle many of the Web’s fundamental standards (JavaScript, for example). But as devices became as powerful as last year’s MacBook, the technology drove a behavioral shift. It wasn’t just early adopters who were using the mobile Web. It was every person and their dog with a smartphone and a 3G connection (around 75% of smartphone owners surf the Web4).

Our Mobile Planet - General Smartphone Activities5
Image source: Our Mobile Planet6.

The line between what is and isn’t Web-enabled is blurring. People don’t see the Internet on their phone or tablet as being the “mobile Internet.” It’s just the Internet. In the words of mobile expert Brad Frost7, “mobile users will do anything and everything desktop users will do, provided it’s presented in a usable way.”

For the last few years, across categories, mobile experience benchmarking studies have been filled with recommendations to broaden and deepen the content available. Users are searching more and longer for information that currently isn’t available on mobile or even tablet devices.

Mobile Site vs Full Site8
Image source: Strangeloop9.

This desire for information is prevalent and strong enough that many opt for a less than optimal visit to the “full site” in order to access more or other information. The fact that almost a third of mobile users are prepared to endure poor navigation10, slow loading times and no touch optimization really underscores the presence of this fundamental behavior.

The Truth About Context

A common argument against a seamless One Web experience is that mobile is all about context or, more specifically, location. This is somewhat true: it is about location, but it’s not all about on-the-go location. This classic use case leads many to believe that the only information people want on mobile is action-oriented on-the-go information. The truth here can be delivered in three parts.

 1. Multiple Common Location Contexts

Across the world, accessing the Internet on a smartphone is most commonly done at home11. Other popular location-related contexts are “on the go” and fixed locations such as work, cafes and shops.

Our Mobile Planet - Location of use.12
Image source: Our Mobile Planet13.

When it comes to the content of your communications, the insight here is that there is really no insight. Your user experience must cater to people in different locations. So, what do people in different locations have in common? They have a need for your information, to know what you do. How different does that need to be from location to location? Not very much.

2. On the Go Is Not Always About the Now

One could argue that the websites people visit at home are different from the websites they visit on the go. This leads us to the second important truth about the on-the-go context. Just because people are in transit doesn’t mean they are in a hurry. Nor does it mean that the information they are browsing for correlates in the slightest with their location. This is why Google (as early as 2007) aptly identified three mindsets for mobile, which one could argue are true of any interaction with a device. These mindsets are “bored now,” “repetitive now” and “urgent now14.” Each is pretty self-explanatory. What is truly relevant is not whether someone is on the go, but what state of mind they are in when interacting with the information and how that affects the information, its format and its structure.

3. Top Tasks Data Is the Wrong Answer

A common data set used to show that mobile and desktop users have separate needs is the top-task analysis. Here, one looks at analytics to see what tasks are most common among users on a desktop computer. Then you’d do the same for mobile visitors. Voila! Now you can put together a list of different tasks for different visitor types. This kind of research can be extremely valuable in answering questions about prioritization and in guiding the interface and UX design. It does not, however, prove that information should be different for different devices. This is because the data is tainted by pro-desktop user interfaces, non-touch optimization, clunky information architectures and slow loading times.

The One Web Requires Focus

One Web experiences are about creating communications that speak to different mindsets, not to different devices. People need to be able to find various pieces of information, and they expect that the information will be readily available whether they’re on a phone or desktop computer.

So, we can no longer get away with treating a website like the cupboard under the stairs where we throw all of the stuff that has nowhere else to live. Strategy must guide sharp and focused communication — communication that informs, persuades and provides the next step towards your business goals. The One Web sets extra (surpassable) challenges for us to create interfaces and experiences that are recognizable and recollectable across devices and that are structured for the mindset of multiple interactions that people have.

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

— Mark Twain

None of this is a new requirement for brands. Focus isn’t really a new requirement for our “new digital world” or anything else. It’s basic business and marketing. That many have gotten away without it has been a temporary glitch. And that is now being amended. It’s time to recall Mark Twain’s wisdom and to take the time to do online communication properly.

Less Becomes More

The positive side effect of designing online communication in this way is that it eases the pain of having to create and manage all of the content that multiple websites and platforms entail. Whereas today most mobile and tablet websites run different content, content formats, specifications and even CMS tools, tomorrow will be something else.

As far as content management goes, the “publish once, publish everywhere” set-up will make things a little easier. It will still require images for the various aspect ratios of screens. And some other content pieces will require several specification variants, too. But the silver bullet for this approach is really to ask the question, “If a piece of text or an image is good enough in a ‘mobile short’ format, if it communicates strongly and concisely what we need, why do we need more on a desktop?

Mobile short isn’t about providing less for mobile. People want just as much on mobile as anywhere else. But when “short” works on mobile, should it not also be enough on a desktop?

“The headline is 80% of the communication.”

— David Ogilvy

An SMS, a tweet, a headline — they often say enough, and sometimes say a lot. David Ogilvy famously said, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” Granted, a headline alone is rarely enough, but if a piece of strong concise communication works for mobile, why should it be less concise anywhere else? Expectations across all devices are converging. With mobile users wanting more, it may be an opportunity to review how our desktop formats can do just as much with less.

Niche Skills Are Still Needed

While strategy and UX design need to align, a great number of finesses are still needed to make the One Web experience possible. These include things such as understanding the different ways that touch interfaces work, how to architect and structure information on tighter screens, how to scale things up, and how to code around a technology’s capabilities. Knowledge of this can be found in your interaction designers and developers. You’ll also need to get to the heart of your offer, your product and your brand and learn to communicate it in a way that creates and fulfills demand. This is the work of your strategist and copywriter.

It’s no surprise that Google itself is extremely strong in this area. A great example is The Mobile Playbook15, which has a great deal of content and whose UX design is tailored to mobile, tablet and desktop devices.

The Reason For The Mobile-First Hype

All of these are reasons why the approach of building mobile first is so hot right now. If you start thinking about your Web experience from a mobile standpoint, you will be forced to devise and create a sharp, focused communications strategy and UX design that cater to multiple interaction mindsets and user goals. Once you have these fundamentals in place, it will be much easier to scale up to other devices, which in turn will inherit this focused thinking, helping to create a One Web that is intelligent, useful and worth experiencing.

Let’s starting thinking about how to create seamless online communications, irrespective of device.

(al)

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.se/2012/06/recommendations-for-building-smartphone.html
  2. 2 http://www.apple.com/ios/ios6/#safari
  3. 3 http://www.w3.org/TR/mobile-bp/#OneWeb
  4. 4 http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/mobileplanet/en/graph/?country=br&country=cn&country=se&country=uk&country=us&category=KEYACT&subcategory=GSA&topic=GSA_ACTI&stat=ACTI03&wave=wave2&age=all&gender=all&active=stat
  5. 5 http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/mobileplanet/en/graph/?country=br&country=cn&country=se&country=uk&country=us&category=KEYACT&subcategory=GSA&topic=GSA_ACTI&stat=ACTI03&wave=wave2&age=all&gender=all&active=stat
  6. 6 http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/mobileplanet/en/graph/?country=br&country=cn&country=se&country=uk&country=us&category=KEYACT&subcategory=GSA&topic=GSA_ACTI&stat=ACTI03&wave=wave2&age=all&gender=all&active=stat
  7. 7 https://twitter.com/brad_frost/statuses/176697511761805312
  8. 8 http://www.strangeloopnetworks.com/resources/infographics/mobile-infographics/32-percent-of-customers-choose-to-view-the-full-site-on-their-mobile-device/
  9. 9 http://www.strangeloopnetworks.com/resources/infographics/mobile-infographics/32-percent-of-customers-choose-to-view-the-full-site-on-their-mobile-device/
  10. 10 http://www.strangeloopnetworks.com/resources/infographics/mobile-infographics/32-percent-of-customers-choose-to-view-the-full-site-on-their-mobile-device/
  11. 11 http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/mobileplanet/en/graph/?country=br&country=cn&country=se&country=uk&country=us&category=DETAILS&topic=DETAILS_LOCA&stat=LOCA01&stat=LOCA02&stat=LOCA03&stat=LOCA04&stat=LOCA06&stat=LOCA10&subcategory=GSA&wave=wave2&age=all&gender=all&active=stat
  12. 12 http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/mobileplanet/en/graph/?country=br&country=cn&country=se&country=uk&country=us&category=DETAILS&topic=DETAILS_LOCA&stat=LOCA01&stat=LOCA02&stat=LOCA03&stat=LOCA04&stat=LOCA06&stat=LOCA10&subcategory=GSA&wave=wave2&age=all&gender=all&active=stat
  13. 13 http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/mobileplanet/en/graph/?country=br&country=cn&country=se&country=uk&country=us&category=DETAILS&topic=DETAILS_LOCA&stat=LOCA01&stat=LOCA02&stat=LOCA03&stat=LOCA04&stat=LOCA06&stat=LOCA10&subcategory=GSA&wave=wave2&age=all&gender=all&active=stat
  14. 14 http://www.informationweek.com/news/mobility/business/229216268
  15. 15 http://themobileplaybook.com

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Marek is a senior strategist at the International creative mobile agency Mobiento. He devises communications and digital strategy for International brands including Volvo Cars and H&M. In 2012, Mobiento was awarded 3 bronze Cannes Mobile Lions for work with Volvo Cars and Swedish charity SituationStockholm. Marek tweets as @marekting.

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  1. 1

    Hear! Hear! To me, the whole “Think Mobile First” movement was a (worthwhile) catfish to get content providers to fall in love with the idea they were hip to the latest online trend [Blogging! Hey, Facebook! Now Twitter! No wait, Responsive Design!] when the true underlying purpose was to get them to strip away the bloat that shouldn’t be there in the first place.

    I’m no writer but I do know the essence of any writing advice is to ruthlessly exorcise anything that undermines the main purpose. “Kill your darlings,” to quote Faulkner.

  2. 2

    I’m afraid I have to disagree here. It really is about the ‘on-the-go’ context. You are correct when it comes to news, blogs, etc that I am reading or e-commerce sites that I am using to purchase.

    But local business sites are a whole different deal. I don’t want to read a restaurant’s blog, enter their contest, look at holiday party pictures, etc. I need their menu and a map. If you are my hosting provider, I want to see current server status, not your sales pitch. If you’re App Sumo, give me the same site no matter what device I’m using. If you’re Target, geolocate me and show me the nearest store with their hours, phone numbers, and a map – and a big fat button to go to the main site if I am just in procrastination mode.

    I’m a photographer – I need to deliver blog photos and client galleries differently if you’re in an iPhone, if for no other reason than bandwidth and navigational convenience. My main site is no place to be using a 3G connection.

    I’m a busy working mom. I don’t know what “mobile expert Brad Frost” has in his day, but I live on my phone (does that make me a expert??) and during my day I may get directions to businesses, reserve a lens and my local photo store, review orders, make reservations, make a doctor’s appointment for one of my kids, and read up on some photoshop actions on a blog. And yes, some of that takes places at red lights during my commute, in the checkout line buying lunch, and sitting in an office between appointments. Notice my goals during a lot of these activities are very different in my ‘on-the-go’ context.

    If you don’t take my goals into account I’m going to eventually take my business elsewhere. That blog is fine, but the doctors appointment, directions, reservations – I need that on a mobile site that has probable visitor goals structured into an easy-to-use menu with common-sense fonts. “Responsive” was a business concept first.

    • 3

      @Sandy:

      I think you’ve misconstrued the purpose. I’d like to address your points one at a time.

      1. Restaurant: Whether I’m accessing a restaurant’s website from my desktop computer or my iPhone, odds are I’m looking for hours and a menu. 95% of users are probably looking for that; therefore the design should elevate that information to the front and put other information secondary. Putting the blog first on the desktop and not on mobile assumes a different priority from device to device which is likely a falsehood. How you present that information can be different on each device; media queries make conditional display/design of information fairly easy.

      2. Host/AppSumo: Your desire has nothing to do with device, your desire is for information relevant to you. Are you saying you *do* want to see their sales pitch when you access the site on your computer? Don’t confuse poor design with a device-specific requirement. If you have an account with a hosting provider they should be providing you with the important information to you regardless of how you’re accessing the site.

      3. Target (or any other major retailer): You should be asking me whether or not I want you to geo-locate the closest store to me no matter what device I’m on. It’s easy to do with almost all desktop browsers nowadays. Again, your desire isn’t a device-specific one; it’s a platform-capability one and one in which the platforms are more or less equivalent for that sort of thing. The display of a map/hours are, again, something that really should be displayed no matter what device.

      4. Photography: Many blog hosts will now make several sizes of any image you upload (I know squarespace makes 7) and deliver a resolution-appropriate image depend on the device used to access the page. Images are perhaps the biggest sticking point with uniform design, but methods are being developed to address it. A photo blog may not be the best thing on a 3G connection (even with appropriately sized images), but this article states (and is consistent with my personal experience) that a lot of people are using their iPhones and whatnots at home on wi-fi networks.

      Ultimately, your goals are about getting things done, and in that respect, probably the most common things people want to do with a lot of these sites. Your complaints seem, to me, to be more a criticism of bad, bloated desktop design instead of proposing value to mobile design. The inherent value in mobile design was that it focuses more on “what will a user want to accomplish when they visit my site?” instead of traditional desktop design, which can seem more driven by “how do I want to present information to my user?” Mobile design strives to meet user goals while desktop design can often fall into the trap of meeting business goals. The idea of there being “no mobile internet” is driven by focusing on user goals and tailoring the site in such a way that the user goals and business goals are aligned.

      • 4

        Your entirely right.

        It took a while to mull the idea around in my head and realise the obvious – modern smartphones can request & receive the same content as desktop devices.
        How the content is displayed and/or how it is filtered is a moot point.
        Touch isn’t limited to mobile devices. Mobile devices don’t have to be ‘mobile’. You can’t second guess intention based on location.

        The way we interact with the web is constantly changing along with the ways we interact with it.
        Keyboard, mouse, touch, voice.

        The way we view the web is also constantly changing along with the ways we view it.

        Content is still king.

    • 5

      Wait who are these people who are actually looking at the “restaurant holiday photo gallery” or entering whatever contest they have? Sounds to me like all of the stuff you want to easily access on mobile is stuff that 90% of their desktop users want to get to quickly as well.

      • 6

        My guess is, online marketers who want to create community and grasping at straws because they don’t know the business well enough. I don’t mean to sound snarky – creating community online is hard for a physical business. But I think, especially for a restaurant, it’s gotta be about something more real and relevant than that example. Ultimately, I think you start with real people and real events at the real place – and show lots of pics of the people themselves.

        Key concept: FB has a billion users because high-school yearbook.

  3. 7

    Do you feel this (One Web Approach) works for all types of websites regardless of the audience of the content delivered by the website owner?

    • 8

      In the vast, vast majority of cases, yes.

      The only exceptions that come to mind are those flash game sites (and that reason’s twofold – Flash doesn’t play well on mobile devices, and there’s likely a platform version).

      For anything else? Yes.

      As a person that uses mobile platforms nearly as much as I use desktop ones, I despise it when a website owner thinks I want certain content, or worse, shouldn’t have access to certain content, just because I’m on my smartphone or tablet (drives me nuts when they do this in their apps, too, but at least that’s slightly more understandable). I go to a website to do something, be it post a comment, write a blog entry, get information, find a location, or any one of the hundred other reasons I go to a web site.

      Let’s say for example, I visit the site of my favorite restaurant. I go to it, because I want to place an order for delivery and time it for about when I get home. However, when I log on with my smartphone, I’m met with a specific mobile site that assumes that I want to go to the nearest location (never mind the fact that the nearest location and the one I need to order from are on opposite sides of the city) and seems to think that it’s unthinkable that I’d want to place a delivery order.

      Okay, screw the mobile site. It’s a specific site, so we should be able to request the desktop one. It turns out that we can, but their desktop site is unusable on the mobile platform, because placing an order requires logging in, and the only way to log in is with a modal dialog that doesn’t get along well with my device (it shows up half off the screen, repositions itself to stay half off my screen, I can’t click on the fields to enter my information). Well, there go my plans for ordering dinner so that it’d get to my house about the same time that I did.

      The above may technically be hypothetical, but those are all very real issues I’ve run into on far too many websites.

      To be honest, if I want to find the location of a particular place, I don’t go to that company’s website, anyway. I go to the map, regardless of whether I’m on my smartphone or on my computer. I go to the map and search for the place or search a more generic term to see what’s around.

  4. 9

    Internet has never had a physical shape. Even on the servers it is just bunch 0s and 1s. There have only been different devices with their own specifics that could tap into the web, just like we got IE and the rest of the browsers – different animals, right? :p

  5. 10

    Summary: Verbose, invalid “puff piece” which satisfied the 550 words requirement but not much else. I vaguely felt the author was trying to make some kind of point, albeit in a moderately trolling “clickbaiting” kind of way.

    THERE IS NO MOBILE INTERNET! – click baiting 101, an inflammatory and clearly invalid assertion that just demands clicking and responding! sigh.
    “There Is No Mobile Internet!

    “We need to embrace a device-agnostic approach to communicating with connected consumers and forget the idea of a “mobile Internet”. There is only One Web to experience.”

    Your EYE is a device, as well as your ears, sense of touch and smell – For the web, visual (and to some smaller extent auditory) messages are how we communicate, BUT WE ALL SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY, distorting them through the lens of our personal biases, predilections, color-blindness and so on.

    WE ARE EVEN MORE DISTORTED BY THE DEVICES WE HAVE TO USE.
    Therefore, we cannot be “device agnostic”.
    There no such thing as “one web”

    What exists instead is the narrow aperture we use as our viewfinder to peer at this web and the limitations imposed thereby.
    Recognizing this helps us to tailor our presentation specifically to each viewer based on their limitations (hey, we havent even gone into demographics, yet) and get our message delivered in an optimized way!

    Article personal rating to me: D-

    • 11

      Totally agree Alfreds comments on linkbaiting. Not the rest of his reply though.

      This article is nothing but linkbait and months too late. This discussion has been done time and time again by the guys that actually drove the mobile first initiative and here you are regurgitating it in your own way – awesome thanks for that.

      Admittedly I zoned out about half way through though so I can’t really add any productive feedback.

      Just one of the reasons why I don’t come to this site very often. It’s a joke.

  6. 12

    Surprised to see discord around this topic.
    Is a device’s primary reason for existence not to deliver content?
    A vehicle agnostic web has been a long time coming, the sooner we get there, the sooner we’ll be able to appropriate the valuable time and energy spent futzing around with performance and versioning where it should be: creating great content.

  7. 13

    A good article with good points to ponder, thanks.

    I think the reason someone visits a site is independent of the device they use at the time… so it makes sense to present the same data regardless of device context.

    Personally I would rather see the same site on any device, and if I am using a smaller sized screen then I will just zoom in.

  8. 14

    I followed your link to Google’s smartphone article and was surprised that their recommendations in order are: 1) make your site responsive 2) serve up different HTML to mobiles 3) have a completely different site for mobile. Google offers their third recommendation as a paid service (with a the first year free) in the form of GOMO which scrapes your website to generate a mobile version on Google’s servers and then Javascript gets inserted in your main site to detect devices and show the GOMO content. http://www.howtogomo.com/

    Now I’m wondering why Google didn’t create GORE to scrape fixed width sites into responsive markup if that’s really what their brain trust believes to be the best practice. Why only sell the third best option? I also find it interesting that google.com is not responsive – they still prefer approach #2.

    • 15

      One reason I can see for not scraping fixed widh sites into responsive markup is because it’s really not that easy. A good responsive site is more-or-less handcrafted. Yes, you can (and should) use some standardised components, but how to make it completelly depends on the needs and design of that site in particular.

      Why they do approach #2 for their own site I’m not sure of, especially since google isn’t exactly the most advanced (frontend-wise) of pages. Putting their focus somewhere else, maybe?

      • 16

        Google doesn’t go responsive because it doesn’t make sense for them.

        People need to remember that Google can’t always, and in some cases shouldn’t, follow the web standards they support.

        Here’s why.

        Millions of people access their homepage. It gets hit hard. Really, really hard. They have to be able to deliver their site as fast as possible. Every bit counts. That means super caching and delivering the appropriate content to different devices. A responsive site would work, but then you’re delivering content (think media queries and extraneous css) to devices that don’t need them. That’s extra bits. Google want to be as fast as possible.

        For example, Google used to (they probably still do in some cases) not use a CSS file on their homepage. The reasoning was because they wanted to forgo the extra HTTP request in favor of a static, cached homepage. So they aren’t using a cached css file, but their initial load speed is just a bit faster. It makes sense from a speed perspective for them, but most companies can’t afford this approach as the maintenance and updates take more time and thus cost more.

  9. 17

    I’m sure everyone here knows that people are always wanting to push the latest mindset of “think THIS way, not THAT way”, and at times, it can be very overwhelming.

    From a literal standpoint, yes, there is only 1 web. Our problem is the technology that accesses it AND the user interface between the web and the user.

    For example, Internet Explorer has been a very proprietary and non-standardized method to access the web, and as such, developers have had to hack and suffer to ensure that the experience they’re trying to convey can be done so based on the technological limitations. The consumer will never be aware of this issue; they just want the site to work, but this is an impossible situation; Standardization of the web has helped moved us towards one collective, but to this date, we still have applications accessing the web with different technical capabilities.

    Secondly, how the user interacts with the design is another area which can modularly be taken into account. Not only are the controls schemes used (mouse vs. fingers) but understanding that even though a monitor may afford 1000 pixels across as does modern mobile phone, the user’s experience between these 2 pieces of hardware can be very different.

    Too many people are preaching methods of development that are, for all practical purposes, backwards. We are striving to be progressive with the web, but since it is such an open marketplace, it seems too monumental a task to get everyone on the same page.

  10. 18

    Just because there’s not enough pedantry in the world… the Mark Twain quotation is an echo of something Blaise Pascal wrote about two hundred years before Twain was active (in letter 16 of his Lettres Provinciales), and there’s good reason to believe that *he* stole the line from Cicero.

  11. 19

    Wow – my response disappeared. So instead of retyping my rant concerning the real-world cost implied by such a design, how about three or for URLs I can check on my desktop and my phone that you’ve done that demonstrates the ‘one size fits all’ metaphor you’ve proposed.

  12. 20

    Great post. I am really interested in this topic and watched a great long 1 hour vimeo video = http://vimeo.com/56705945 from An Event Apart web conference by Karen McGrane. I think it relates to the notion of publish once, publish everywhere.

  13. 21

    Indeed, there is no more difference between internet and internet, it is all one web and we want to access it that way. It is really frustrating, if something is not accessible on my iPad or iPhone and I need to get out my laptop to get to it. At the same time, it takes more time and effort to create web experiences that work well “everywhere”. This is exactly why we are striving to create a solution to help build truly responsive websites faster and would love your opinion on Froont, the responsive web design prototyping tool we are launching to selected users at this point.
    Marek, would be great to hear your feedback, so please let me know, if I should get you an early access code! Otherwise, it can be signed-up for at http://www.froont.com.
    The demo of the product is accessible here: http://vimeo.com/froont/beta-demo

  14. 22

    Richard van Kampen

    February 26, 2013 9:12 am

    Not is there one internet, there also seems to be one mind creating all the content on the one web: everybody seems to have the same message ;-).
    btw: this is also true for my own blog post at http://goo.gl/P3wrO

  15. 23

    Yes people, it’s no longer “the medium” = message…… because “the interface” = the message

  16. 24

    Very (!) interesting conversation. I am actually trying to find out what brings users to switch from mobile site to classic view, when acting on a mobile phone. I am not done with this question but actually it seems the switch is necessary to e.g. find a link, or information, which is placed on a well known website at a certain location (also well known), and more hard to find on the mobile version (by checking the following activities), or simply not there. It does not happen as often on blogs, which have everything in the same order and structure, in all views (mobile, semi-mobile, desktop view).

  17. 25

    Am i the only one kinda confused here? The presentation and the concept is very appealing and awesome, but the stats seem to not support it. Correct me if I’m off here but 68% of customers prefer a mobile specific version, and what exactly constitutes “on the go” if not out and about; ie shopping, at a cafe, in transport which more than triples use at home… and what sort of internet are they using? apps, social, websites, searches?

    It seems clear to me that this article has an agenda and skewed stats to try and support it rather than read the stats and reported it. This article makes me ask more questions, but my gut says that people use the internet on their mobile devices differently depending on where they are, and it’s not all web browsing which sort of diffuses this article which calls for a streamlined web presence.

    • 26

      The point is if you design your mobile site with simplified content that only satisfies 68% of your visitors, you may lose 32% of your potential viewers/customers because it doesn’t have the content they want. If you competitor has a responsive site that has the same info for all devices, that 32% may choose to visit them only because they don’t like the hassle of dealing with your seperate mobile site or desktop site. Also users that will actively switch to the full site, probably are more experienced mobile users and other less experienced users might do the same if they knew they could. That’s why this article makes a lot of sense when it says you should design your site by presenting the same info to all devices with headlines & navigation targeting different states of mind ( “bored now,” “repetitive now” and “urgent now.”) . That way the user can decide what state of mind they are in themselves and find what they want instead of what they get being controlled by the developers/designers based on their device.

    • 27

      When people say they want a “mobile-specific” version, they generally mean they want one that fits with the mobile paradigm. ie – It doesn’t require zooming and panning to view the content.

  18. 28

    Having a device agnostic approach for apps is sustainable. New devices, new OS’s, new versions. How does one keep up with and afford the changes? I’m working with corporatecentral, one app, device and OS agnostic for the major mobile devices and web browsers.

  19. 29

    Interesting article. It really rings true with how I use my desktop, tablet and Smart Phone. I am a web developer/designer but also a heavy user of the Internet on many devices. Now that I have a Nexus 7 tablet, I use it the most for Internet “entertainment” including reading, but I do switch around as needed to both the phone and desktop. When I need to get some “real work” done, I almost always need to use the desktop. The phone is preferred outside of the house due to its size & weight. However, I definitely want the same content on all 3 devices because it all depends on the situation, and I hate mobile only sites! I was recently turned on to Pinterest and have to confess to being a Pinterest junkie. What I love about Pinterest is that as I switch from desktop to tablet to phone, it keeps my place. I think that is a critical feature that really improves the user experience. It will even keep my place in a search that I start on 1 device when I switch to another device. I can literally browse Pinterest at home in on the tablet from the couch, pick up right where I left off while waiting in a long line at the grocery store, later check a Pin on my phone for the supplies needed while at the art store, and then when I am ready, follow the Pin on my desktop to the detailed instructions. It works beautifully and I really think the seamless interaction when moving to different devices is a big part of Pinterest’s appeal.

  20. 30

    The real changes are going to be how we interact with our devices not what size they are. Laptops/desktops with touch screens are going to be the norm in a few years and ‘full sites’ will have to accommodate users using fingers instead if mice. Imagine not using text links anymore!!!

    • 31

      Chris F.A. Johnson

      March 1, 2013 4:16 am

      A touch screen will never be usable on my desktop; my screen is more than an arm’s length away.

    • 32

      Touch screens for computers (desktops and laptops) have been around for a long time now and they’ve never really caught on. They’ll probably catch on more for the laptops as laptops have gone more the route of hybrid laptop-meets-tablet way, but for the desktop realm? Not so much. Not only are they often farther away, but they tend to not be as stable (physically speaking).

  21. 33

    ALSO… mobile apps are going to boil down to nothing more than links to websites (with a few exceptions of course, those being the apps that do not need to access the web). I won’t be surprised if I soon see “There Are No Mobile Apps”!

  22. 34

    It seems like device agnostic just means yet again that – content and user experience should be optimized no matter what context or device, etc.

    The device may or may not effect the users goals, but we still need to do the research to find out.

    What will happen when users are going to websites on google Glass or iGlass? Will we still have the same websites? or a new device we have not thought of?

  23. 35

    We should be designing for cross device experiences where devices can work in tandem to create a seamless experience.

  24. 36

    hi, i much prefer using the full website when on my iphone, i use ios chrome so i can click the “request desktop version” button.

    the reason is either:
    a) the mobile website lacks features that the full website has, and they are features i am trying to use
    b) the mobile website is layed out differently, and i need to get to X quickly, i can see how to do that on the mobile website, so i change to full website and do it how i know how to do it

    ALso: i HATE it when i am not given the option to go to full website, its a freaking smart phone, most of the androids have 1080p screens, that’s more than my laptop, let me see the actual website!

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