The mobile landscape is rapidly evolving and gathering momentum. Fast. Almost every day there are new devices, new apps, new operating systems–it’s difficult to keep up! But there’s one thing that has been made abundantly clear: mobile is here to stay.
Whether you’re building a website, promoting a campaign, or offering utility, there’s no way you can do that today without focusing on mobile.
A Whirlwind Catchup
It’s hard to imagine: just five years ago, the iPhone was a mere rumour, and Android was a mere embryo. 3G was just beginning to gain traction, and ‘email on the go’ was just within reach of the average consumer.
The first iPhone was released in June 2007 and has since ignited the mobile world. Competitors soon followed. Since then, we’ve seen the rise of Android, the relative fall of Microsoft, the maturing of BlackBerry, and industry giants such as Nokia on the backfoot having to play catchup.
Today, the platforms provide rich and engaging experiences, available at (almost!) every corner of the globe.
Web technologies such as HTML5 and CSS3 have been specified to take advantage of mobile browsers (geolocation, numeric input, range sliders), and vast ecosystems of apps have been built for leveraging a device’s full capabilities.
‘Mobile’ is becoming quite a grey-area term, too. Once, it may have meant a PDA/Palm Pilot, but today mobile encompases phones, touchpads, tablets and anything in between! Typically, anything with a touch-screen and/or 3G or wifi is probably considered mobile.
Web vs Native
You’ll often hear people arguing from two camps: web versus native.
‘Native’ proponents will argue that the user experience of a native application is far superior than any web experience: smooth animations, low-level functionality, consistent look and a feel.
Who is right and who is wrong? Well, they’re both right.
What’s right for you?
Ultimately, there is no right answer. It depends.
If you’re attempting to reach a wide audience with very limited budget for a campaign, web might be a better option. If you’re willing to focus on a certain demographic and aim for a higher quality deliverable, then native might be the better option.
A mobile web site is a good reference point for customers or clients to gather one-off information (product catalogue, contact information, etc), whereas a native application may be better for a consumer to touch base with several times a day (check-in, update status, scan barcode, etc)
At the very least, websites today should be built with mobile in mind. They should be tested on a range of common devices (iPhone and Android are as important as desktop browser testing these days).
Mobile is here and it’s flying by fast; consumers are flocking to mobile. Don’t miss out on hitting your audience with your next project! Need a hand? Enspiral has a number of mobile experts to guide your project in the right direction.