Riding the New York Subway today, I noticed a number of people clutching onto their mobile phones as if it was a part of their body. Some were listening to music, others were playing games but a sizable number were just sitting and holding, waiting until they could get signal again (I presume). If I’m not using my phone, it stays in my handbag but I think I’ve noticed the latest trend – the permanent holding of the phone.
And it’s not surprising, really. Our phones do so much – from providing entertainment, emails, maps, texts. Making and receiving phone calls – the original function – is such a small part of what they can do. And it looks like we’ve been quickly trained to feel naked without them.
Many clever companies have recognized and encouraged this trend. I can order my groceries from a specially designed app from my phone. I can pay my phone bill from my phone. I can buy movie tickets and books using my phone. So what’s the effect of this reinforcement?
I’ve noticed in my own behavior that I reach for my phone before I reach for the laptop. I’ve even got into the habit of reading my emails from my phone as soon as I wake up (but I have to have a coffee before I can deal with any of them). My prediction: the phone will become the first device you go to – rather than the computer – to access the information you want.
My hunch is backed up by research with Morgan Stanley believing the mobile web will be bigger than desktop Internet use by 2015. Other interesting things to note:
• mobile e-commerce is ramping up faster than online e-commerce
• in 2009, there were more users on social networks than e-mail
• 69% of mobile data traffic involves video
This has implications for websites. If your site is built for a big screen rather than a small one, will you annoy or put off your viewers? Are you matching your customer or client habits? Does your site meet your viewer’s needs?
It could be time to think about your mobile web approach. Share your ideas in the comments.