Mobile Is The New Mandatory

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Success-minded businesses are already there, but only a minority has tested their apps or sites.

"The old model – a stationary customer sitting at a stationery desk – no longer applies." That's how the New York Times tersely describes the dilemma "old school" companies like Intel, Google and Microsoft are facing as they try to transition their old, desk-bound revenue spigots to the new mobile world. 1

It's hard to think of any new technology that has had as swift and substantial an impact as the smartphone. The Web took a decade or more to achieve a truly transformative effect. But it took just five years for smartphones to land in the hands of more than 100 million Americans – fully one-third of the total population, and nearly half of adults – and the pace of adoption is still accelerating. Worldwide, smartphone users just passed the one billion mark, and it's planned to take just three years to reach the second billion. 2

Apple consciously follows a "one Web" strategy – no separate mobile site – but offers an app for mobile shoppers. So visitors who just want to browse the website are stuck zooming in and out to navigate the full desktop site.

A slew of statistics validate the importance of mobile channels, from time spent on devices to data consumption to shopping behavior and on and on, and the numbers keep moving aggressively in a positive direction. So it begs the question: Why is it taking so long for businesses to get serious about mobile? And why is it taking those who do have a mobile presence so long to organize a testing program to make sure their apps and mobile websites work the way users expect them to work?

Mobile MIA, mobile missteps

Some observers estimate that half of the Fortune 500 does not have a dedicated mobile presence.

It's baffling that so many businesses are dragging their heads to stake their mobile claim, when consumers are so enthusiastically embracing mobile connectivity. It's perplexing, too, that those businesses that have taken the mobile plunge are doing it with their eyes closed.

Lack of proper QA in mobile is in some ways understandable. Some businesses may be rushing their mobile properties out the door because they do feel the pressure to be where their users are, and where their competition may not yet be. And the reality is that mobile testing is a much more messy and complicated process than testing for desktop browsers or operating systems.

Footnotes:

  1. The New York Times, "In Mobile World, Tech Giants Scramble to Get Up to Speed," by Claire Cain Miller and Somini Sengupta, 10/22/12
  2. ReadWriteWeb, "Know What's Cool? A Billion Smartphones. And They're Changing Everything," by Dan Rowinski, 10/17/12

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