the new world of smart devices has changed the game. for the first time in history last month, mobile use surpassed web. it seems the direction is clear – more robust, engaging and capable devices which are portable, easy to carry and connect us on a personal/social and professional level. every vertical on the planet is thinking of mobile and it can be utilized to achieve corporate goals, save money and enhance communication within the organization.
from the early start it was clear there is one daunting issue with mobile. fragmentation. this issue persists across history, from the inception of virtual machines to the web. ask any front
end web developer of their experience with coding for an array of different browsers and brace yourself for some horror stories that will most definitely make you cherish your choice of profession. yes – the browsers claim the support and implement specific standards, but at the end of the day having a concise experience across the 90% is major pain.
not far behind are mobile devices. a developer builds an app for iOS and now wants to develop it for android and blackberry. good luck. android has more devices out there an screen resolutions than one can count, and while going native is a great idea, one will need to double their effort in order to produce a solid experience across the eco system.
forget you not that the true open standard for mobile has always been the web. steve jobs explained so in the first iphone unavailing back in 2007, and indeed some great technologies have emerged for the mobile web that allow developers to deploy/convert/cross-compile their code so it will either run natively or be compatible across many devices and operating systems.
while that is a good and interesting market that is just starting to awake, one very quickly experiences the big gaps between mobile web and native applications. most certainly on apple devices. the experience keeps the users wanting more. yes, HTML5’s canvas and CSS3 really offer some great features that do a good job – but it’s not the same and sometimes is not as responsive. let’s face it – a big part of mobile is the experience as it drives engagement which is a big part why mobile surpassed web. just play angry birds on crhome and then launch it from your iphone and you will see what i mean.
i have always been a fan of haptic technologies. in essence haptic provides the user sensory feedback so they can “feel” the surface of the touch screen, which are great, but there is still a missing sensual experience to what one is using. my mom for example does not like touch devices and prefers real buttons. who doesn’t? touch screens take time to get used to and bar none everyone would prefer to work with a physical keyboard for tasks that are longer than 140 characters.
IMHO haptic is a game-changer and one piece of technology that will take user experience to the next level. exposing developer APIs and allowing us to provide our users not only a visual but a sensual experience of the UI elements and interact with our technology on a deeper more intimate level. it may just be what will save the mobile web. touch is stronger than visual in my opinion, especially as displays have more pixels condensed per inch than ever before. how many of you are “blown away” by the new ipad’s retina display? how many of you think it’s “okay”, but certainly not something you would immediately shell out $550 to upgrade your ipad2?
being able to program what our fingers feel as they interact with a touch screen may be what the mobile web horizontal needs so it’s experience delivery is enhanced and gain more traction and acceptance.