Monday 1 June 2015

Desktop may be big, but it's rather stupid ...

... A pot pourri of Internet Statistics, Mobile Friendliness and Apps vs Web

Mary Meeker's Internet Trends Report

As widely trailed elsewhere, the much valued and often cited Internet Trends Report by Mary Meeker has hit the virtual bookshelves in its 2015 edition. It's lengthy but very much worth taking the time to study.

Mobile Friendliness

While I don't want to belabour the point - well, I'm going to - having a mobile friendly Web site improves your search rankings.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Google's algorithm has changed and they now favour mobile-friendly sites. When they say mobile-friendly the bar is actually set rather low, it should not be very hard to achieve this "qualification". So that should not be considered an aspirational target. Rather it should be considered a minimum on a journey to providing your users a productive and pleasant experience of using your Web site.

Recently published is a blog post from Vision Mobile on the State of the Mobile Web in which they conclude that 40% of sites are oblivious to their mobile users. You'll find several other interesting points in that piece.

Vision Mobile publishes lots of statistically based material which is of tremendous value when considering your Internet strategy. If you don't already, you might consider checking out some of their material, especially their Developer Economics reports: Developer Economics provides fact-based insights to help developers choose the right platform, tool or API and build a scalable business.

While I'm here, I urge you to contribute to the currently ongoing survey by taking 10 minutes to tell them what you think about IoT, mobile, desktop and cloud. To incentivise you, there are some fab prizes including an iPhone6, Oculus Rift Dev Kit and an Apple Sports Watch.

Before moving on, allow me to repeat myself (for emphasis, obviously) "even if it's responsive it won't necessarily work well on mobile"

Apps vs Web

Q: Should I build an app or should I build a mobile Web site? 

A: Either may be appropriate for development of your product.

Each has contrasting advantages. Fidelity of user experience usually speaks to having an app. Cross platform considerations may favour a Web solution.

Consider this, though. As a start-up people need to find you and find out about you, so it's likely that you should have a mobile friendly Web site before considering the next step. If you don't do that then it may be hard to develop your relationship with your users to the point where they want engage with your product or service, at which point they may want to download your app. 

Ben Evans - a leading commentator on such matters - recently put it nicely "Do people want to put your icon on their home screen?". If they don't know who you are, he suggests, they won't.

Mobile Not the Dumb Little Brother 

Another post from Ben talks about "Mobile first" - a somewhat well-rehearsed theme, admittedly, in which he comes to the conclusion that it's the PC that has the basic, cut-down, limited version of the Internet, not the mobile.

This view echoes something that Tomi Ahonen, another well-known commentator (though somewhat less mellifluous and more hectoring in tone than Ben) said a long time ago, namely "Mobile is not the dumb little brother of the (Desktop) Internet, it's the 7th mass medium". Dating from 2007, still worth a read. 

My own view of the Desktop vs Mobile debate is "the desktop may be big, but it's rather stupid", which I came up with in a ponderous piece of my own, deliberating the question "What does mobile mean, anyway". 

Hoping as ever that some of that helps.