Mobile-ness: It’s not Just for Phones Anymore

Bryce MarshallFor a long time, we’ve talked about the impact of mobile devices on the digital marketing world. Not only in terms of how consumers engage on mobile devices, but also how the adoption and saturation of mobile devices is fundamentally changing user behaviors and consumer culture over time.
I have used the term “mobile-ness” to refer to this altered state of user behaviors born out of smartphone addiction. There are three central aspects to mobile-ness in respect to consumer behavior:
  1. Immediacy: The user’s intimate relationship with the device is driven by convenience, facility and immediacy.
  2. Channel-less-ness: The mobile consumer defines what can be accomplished where, and when – not the brand or the marketer.
  3. Form Factor: Device and viewport size, and touch screen interfaces change user behaviors and expectations in really unique ways.

I think through these three themes any time we are planning, developing or optimizing mobile solutions. These themes are becoming more pervasive in all site, email, and ad development because mobile-ness has become the basic wiring of a growing number of consumers even when they are not interfacing with a mobile device. It’s a mobile-first world.

A colleague of mine (hat tip Elizabeth!) pointed me to a really interesting post from Luke Wroblewski at LukeW Ideation + Design. Luke writes about responsive design based on the changing form factor landscape. It’s a great read for those of us who care about adapting to the mobile user with smart, responsive design and who are in the business of driving consumer response.

As Luke illustrates, “touch is permeating nearly every sized screen” from 4 inch smartphones to 13 inch Ultrabooks and virtually every size in between. Microsoft has embraced mobile-ness as a primary use case in the design of Windows 8 and some interesting hardware decisions bringing touch screens to Ultrabooks.

Designers are faced with the challenge of producing mobile/touch friendly designs while still accounting for large screen real estate. Is a touch enabled Ultrabook a PC use case or tablet use case, or something entirely new and unique? As you can see from Luke’s breakdown this adds a unique wrinkle to responsive thinking and design because the most touch-friendly areas across screen sizes and device types can be dramatically different.

Enjoy the read and share this with anyone in your organization who plans, designs and develops for the web – whether they have “mobile” in their title or not!

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