Aneventapart – Boston 2012

500+ attendees, 12 speakers all delivering 1 hour of very compressed, well rehearsed, leading edge brain food.

There was a message, of course.

Mobile web is a revolution, not an evolution.

Mobile web is not just an evolution in web use, it brings us into communication with the entire world instantly and always. Each device identifies one person (or thing), and we are interacting with everything in ways that yesterdays newspaper publishers could only dream of.  Radio and television advertisers are working long hours learning how to tap into this market, and while the desktop internet has taught us all many lessons about the medium, we will now have to learn new ways to do what we do on the mobile web.

Mobile is a new mass market medium

Print, recordings, radio, television, internet, mobile.  Each new revolution has been difficult to work with for a while, but just as television was not radio, and the internet is not print, so mobile is not the internet as we know it.  For the first 17 years of internet we (designers) have been trying to replicate print in a computer screen. Some forward thinkers have been crying out “Don’t Make Me Think”, or studying use cases to find out how people really use the web, but they have been largely ignored.  With the mobile web, we have to pay attention because

Content Comes First

It always did, people have always gone to web sites looking for stuff, not the images that we spread around the content, often obscuring it completely, or at least making it so hard that we quickly move on.  Greater bandwidth and bigger, more colorful displays have te,mp[ted us down this path until now the average web page is 1MB and of that 63% is images.

We have to be focused on delivering content.  MAke it attractive, p[lease, but get the content out there as a first priority

Speed matters

Desperately.  Very few people will wait more than 3 seconds to see if a web page might deliver what they want, and it is simply irresponsible to design web pages that will not satisfy this demand.  Mobile focuses our attention on what really matters on a page, therefore

Think mobile first

Enhance for other views, but always think about mobile delivery first.

 

Web design is a profession

Web design and development has moved well away from the amateur arena now.  There is far too much to know, far too many skills for a new entrant to fully grasp.  We will have to become experts at, for example

  • journalism
  • typography
  • use case studies
  • user testing
  • delivering content to an ever changing range of devices
 Web sites intended for desktop viewing only will always be able to be thrown together by anyone with a bit of software and a good idea, but that is no longer enough to deliver web content effectively to everyone who wants it, on whatever device they might be using.

We have the skills

Webbies already know HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript, and these are the languages that will power the web of the future.  Native mobile apps will have a declining, specialist place in the market, but the code base us webbies already use is all that will be required in the foreseeable future.  They will expand and change, and we’ll have to get a lot better at them, of course, but the important thing is that we are ready to lead the world into the next generation of inter-connectivity.

 

Acknowlegments: All the speakers on this line up