In a recent blog post on his blog Logic + Emotion, David Armano, frequent speaker on all things digital, explores the notion of mobile vs. mobility. In that article, he argues that the future of the mobile web — and now, really — lies in understanding the idea behind mobility itself. So what’s the difference between mobile and mobility, you ask? I’ll let David answer that for me: “Mobile itself is the nuts, bolts, and infrastructure, while mobility is the context which determines if it all works together or doesn’t.”
But David’s theory doesn’t just apply to the mobile web. In fact, it’s a theory that applies to everything that we do on the modern web — basically, context is important regardless of whether we’re exploring the web on a desktop PC, a laptop, a smartphone, or a tablet.
And that’s why it’s important for us all to start rethinking how we approach the web. The web is no longer a ‘gold rush’ as it once was. Though there are literally millions upon millions of websites out there, the value in simply being on the web — in having a website, or a mobile application, or being on social media — is no longer what it once was in the early days of the Internet.
Consumers Want Experiences
The way we consume the web has evolved so much in just the past 10 years alone. What was primarily desktop driven, has now begun to increasingly migrate towards smartphones and tablets. In fact, according to a study by Chitika, we currently do upwards of 20% of our web browsing through smartphones and tablets.
And with that transition from desktops to smartphones and tablet computers comes an entirely new way in which we consume the web. Now, instead of being primarily input driven, as it has been in the desktop days, we are starting to see a web that is more consumption driven. We consume digital news, social media, and applications ferociously throughout the web, and we watch movies, sports games, and even our favorite TV shows all of the time.
Perhaps the biggest change that has occurred over the course of the modern web’s evolution has been the number of devices that we are now consuming the web on.
It is that reason alone that context has become more important than ever. The ways in which users interact with the web depends almost entirely on the device that they are viewing it from. For example, while desktop users might be perfectly okay with navigating directly to their favorite blogs or news sources, tablet and smartphone users might turn to apps such as Pulse, Flipboard, or one of the 10s of other RSS feed apps.
Mobile users still navigate to websites, for sure, but with the proliferation of native applications on those devices, the mobile web is becoming more and more app-centric.
Simply put, websites aren’t nearly as impactful on mobile devices as mobile applications.
Making Experiences Work for Every Device
Finally, perhaps the most important thing to consider with the recent advent of things like smartphones and apps, is the importance of creating user experiences that work across a wide gamut of devices, and allow users to easily access (or interact) with whatever information you’ve presented them regardless of what device they are viewing that from.
Cloud-based applications like Gmail and Evernote do this exceptionally well, providing apps and websites that are oriented around how that particular device will be used for just about any device available.
And this is important because, as David Armano noted, it’s what makes the difference between mobile and mobility. A mobile app that works solely as a mobile app is simply mobile. But a mobile app that constantly keeps your information updated on a remote server that you can easily access from your tablet or your desktop?