According to IDC, smartphone manufacturers shipped 100.9 million devices in the fourth quarter of 2010, while PC manufacturers shipped 92.1 million units worldwide. Or, more simply put, smartphones just outsold PCs for the first time ever.
The above quote should not come as a surprise. Change happens. The real question becomes, “How are we preparing our clients, or shaping our projects/campaigns for this shift in the marketing landscape?”
Nostalgic Deja Vu
I was just telling one of my classes yesterday that even though the assignments are focusing on 8×11 documents they need to keep in the back of their mind the fact that their message might be seen on a small screen so always plan ahead.
This problem seems to be resurfacing constantly in the technology sector. I can remember, in my brief stint in development, which now seems like three lifetimes ago, the revelation that the developers I worked with all had power user machines: top of the line CPU’s, memory maxed to capacity, every bay in the tower loaded with the largest hard drives that could be purchased, the biggest fasted monitor and video board that was sold at the time. Not a real problem unless you consider the average ‘consumer’ of these developers were running on machines three generations behind, and were loaded with the least possible equipment to save costs for the company purchasing the hardware.
At least we were lucky to have a great software development manager, my brother-in-law, who demanded no code go into production unless it passed a speed test on a machine comparable to what the user base was currently using. So we always kept a box in the corner of the office with the current configuration our clients had. This created some awkward moments when the entire development team would watch as one of the developers would run the cpu/memory/video gauntlet with a piece of code that ran like greased lighting on his box.
Some Possible Action Items
Here are some things you should do right now:
- Test your existing site: get a smartphone, get several with different size screens, and test what you currently have out there being viewed by visitors to your site.
- Update Project Requirements: only accept work that can be used on a smartphone screen. It will cost more, but if your site works and your competitor’s doesn’t, well that’s just priceless.
- Update Your Marketing Plan: Think mobile. What items in your plan can change now as this wave begins to form, rather waiting until is past you and you are playing catchup.
Let me know if you’ve encountered feedback from your visitors about your site not working on smartphones and what you did to fix the problem.