7 Things I Learned About Mobile and Web in 2013

New year. Time for predictions. I enjoy reading predictions. Not because I want to know what others think will happen in the near future, interesting that too, but for me, it put me in mode for reflection. Sort of finding out where we stand, what I have learned and how to make use of that.

I think it is fair to say that 2013 was as close as we have ever been to “the year of mobile”. Maybe it was the year of mobile?

Anyway. I learned (only) 7 things last year:

  1. There is no device-, or browser fragmentation,
    there is just diversity. The web is designed to be diverse. Embrace it and make it your competitive advantage. As a web dev it is impossible to keep up with new devices, browser changes, form factors, interaction models etc. Strive to be “future friendly”, of course, but also make sure to utilize the opportunities to excel inherent in this diversity.
  2. The web is mobile by default.
    It has always been. We have just been using it wrong. The web also makes all intents/actions mobile. Mobile is not about the device or user, but the task any user want to perform on any device anywhere.
  3. Making web mobile require more focus on speed and performance.
    That is a “fast and snappy” page load and interaction with less waiting. Great front end performance starts on the server side. Do whatever you can back end to optimize front end!
  4. Screen size is not enough. 
    There is more to mobile than just the size of the screen. Further, along the same route, there is more to mobile than just iOS and Android. And yes, tablets are mobile devices.
  5. Lean content.
    Many claimed that mobile users don’t want a dumbed down version of the web on a mdot site. In the early days of mobile the content HAD to be reduced due to physical limitations. That taught us a lot! Turned out not even “desktop users” wanted the “desktop content/functionality”. The very healthy trend of thinking “mobile first”, and then making this site the one and only, is the materialization of “One Web”.
  6. Knowledge about context enhances user experience.
    In the early days the context was basically mobile or not mobile. Then, the mobile users really were on the move. Over the years, more mobile use are not mobile but rather sitting in the sofa watching TV or being bored at work. Context is still relevant because we now have more input to determine the context. Like the growing amount of sensors on devices. Use sensor data to collect contextual information and  enhance the user experience based on this.
  7. The meaning of the term “mobile” constantly changes.
    In the old days it meant a mobile device. After a while it was about the user being mobile. Now, it is more about the users intent or actions being mobile across devices, contexts, technologies and distribution models.

Based on this I have only one prediction for 2014:

  1. The main use case for the web will be mobile. We will start to get rid of the mdot sites, taking what we learned from them and applying it on the new redesigned “mobile first responsive” site. This new site site will also stretch further to use data from available sensors or other data sources to enhance the experience both front end and back end. All this, also mean faster web sites.

Happy New Year!

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