What are you looking at?


…I’m reasonably confident its a screen of sorts, but I read this earlier, and it got me thinking;

“According to Google, 85 percent of online shoppers start searching on one device — most often a mobile phone — and make a purchase on another.” nytimes.

Whilst I’m not selling anything (therefor you are not a shopper) the chances are you’re still looking at a handheld device such as a phone, or a tablet. Your fellow readers may be looking at these words on a desktop monitor, laptop or even an xbox / wii driven TV but more and more people are turning to their phones or tablets, rather than booting up the old laptop for web content – which is increasingly, being more and more associated with the exclusive domain of ‘worky stuff’.

There’s been a big noise in web design about ‘device agnostics’ over the last 3 years or so as a result. Web heads have got to make sure web stuff works on everything. Dragondrop.org for instance, I’m glad to say, works on any device. It utilises a technology called RWD or Responsive Web Design (the website layout changes as you look at it on device x, y, or z.). Other exponents of the small screen exploit a completely different site to deliver the content – the “m.” phenomenon for instance – try comapare m.flickr.com with www.flickr.com for example.

We’ve got another paradigm to get used to as well. The finger. The squidgy digit that we use to paw our phones and tablets works very differently from the humble mouse pointer. We’d got so used to assuming that everyone was using a mouse and a keyboard to interact with our websites, that when touch screens finally emerged into being (after a few false starts), a lot of content was simply too fiddly to use.

Guys my age – somewhere between Generation X and Generation E, remember a world without the mobile, heck – without the computer (just) but the young bloods are practically born with a hand held internet enabled device (cue endless YouTube videos or toddlers playing with an iPad). According to Soprano Digital, “If faced with the option of living life without a mobile or a computer, 72% of teens would go mobile”. That’s a very different vision to the one Bill Gates had all those years ago (which he achieved) “A computer on every desk, in every home in America” (and they thought it couldn’t be done). Now 1.4 billion people in the world are ‘online’. 4 billion have a mobile phone.

What is next I wonder. I think we’ve got a future of more and more surfaces being a ‘screen’. Glasses, windows, windscreens, and the like. Cheaper and better e-inks – disposable fold able kindles. Napkins with live, profiled advertising. Less TV, more On demand type consumption. The huge leaps of technology are perhaps not going to be so prevalent, but an exponential number of smaller ones, are.

The future, is bright.

Article written by

Blogger. Photogger. Walker. Talker. Experience designer based in Dubai. Co-founder of 4 kids.

2 Responses

  1. McParty
    McParty at |

    Happy New Year!

    Today I am be mostly reading this blog on a clapped out MacBook.
    I try not to do my ‘surfing’ unless I am sat with a cuppa tea with my feet up.
    I turn to the mobile mainly to see how much Newcastle United are losing by and generally find myself cry softly at the results.

    The Internet has gotten somewhat obscured by social media as people turn to it for their amusement instead of Googling random phrases in order to find some simplistic website of a monkey throwing poo at a camera man or some one impersonating a F1 car vocally.

    I find the Internet just keeps recycling the same debates and the same jokes. I use it 60% of the time for learning and bettering myself and 40% for streaming music/films etc.

    We need more websites like http://www.rathergood.com and http://www.b3ta.org in order to keep the Internet raw and encourage creativity. All of which is hard to do on a mobile device?

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