That’s a scary word, isn’t it?
“Let’s make some changes.”
“It’s time for a change.”
“Our way of life is changing.”
None of these are necessarily comforting statements to hear.
What about familiarity?
Now that’s a word. After all, familiarity is comfort, isn’t it? It’s safe. It’s relatable. Often, it’s home. Change is not any of those things. Change upends and reshapes what has come before.
But looking back on the history of technology, we witness much change in very short windows of time. In a century’s time, we went from massive steam-powered industrial machines to small convenient automobiles, not to mention flying. The telephone was introduced towards the end of that century and in a hundred years, mobile phones where taking the form of portable satellite powered devices. By the end of the 20th century, we had the internet which, in less than half a decade, had become as ubiquitous to staying informed and connected as the five o’clock news. If there is one thread that we can trace through the remarkable progress in technology through our lifetimes it’s change.
And there’s that word again.
As a means of public telecommunication, the internet is barely two decades old. But we have certainly seen it change many times over. The internet is a tool that relies on speed and ease of use. And the content has always reflected how we access it.
Early internet users on their way to buy a faster modem. Photographed c. 1995
The internet of today is not the internet of 1996 for example. Those were the days. The days of the wild west internet where 56k modems roamed free, severely inhibiting web designers. Design and presentation were often sacrificed at the altar of efficiency and speed.
Now designers are only limited by their imaginations; our internet speeds are instant and immediate. And it’s in our pocket.
We have pocket computers now.
Let that sink in for a moment. Really think about what it means.
Pocket computers. Content is no longer limited to heavy desktops or a coffee shop table to settle down with your laptop. It’s in the palm of your hand whenever you need it to be. And once again, the design of the web has changed.
On a computer, the amount of screen real estate to work with is nearly unlimited. Mobile devices require a different kind of browsing. It needs to be easily accessible, clean, and easy to read with absolutely no clutter in sight.
And with over half of the web’s traffic now on mobile devices, you have two choices.
The first choice is to stay in the familiar. The same ol’ desktop site with its gorgeous real estate and five acres of prime ad space. You can let your users access the desktop site from their mobile devices. After all, those things have mobile browsers don’t they? They do indeed. And everyone hates them. Mobile browsers are an afterthought for the on-the-go reader. It’s the thing you grudgingly resort to when it turns out that your favorite cooking blog or fashion review didn’t get on the ball and put out a mobile-friendly app.
Our favorite shopping site on a mobile browser.
The other choice is change. But this kind of change isn’t scary. It’s the same amount of old and whole lot of new. The website that you and your readers know and love gets to stay. But those readers now have a new option for their mobile devices; an app that makes it easier than ever to stay connected and keep doing all the things they have been. Interaction via commenting, seeing mobile-friendly ads that don’t frustratingly explode across their small phone screens. It’s all there in a new package that doesn’t replace any of the current infrastructure, but rather is a compliment. And the advertising that keeps your lights on? It gets to come along too.
Even so, the attitude of website owners has been akin to that of the family dog when a newborn is brought home from the hospital. It’s a big change. It’s loud and smelly and leads to a whole lot of trepidation on how to approach the situation.
But it’s fine to relax. No one is getting replaced. There’s a new addition to the family but no one else is going anywhere. Desktop web is here and for now, it is staying. And now there’s the mobile web to deal with. It’s not just around the corner. It’s not the next big thing. It’s already here and it is thriving, growing even bigger and stronger in traffic than it’s previous incarnation.
It’s change. And at Wovax, we truly believe that we can assist in making it a familiar one.