The Long Promise of the Mobile Web

I distinctly remember back in 1999, working for one of the first User Experience firms, when I first saw an internet-based service on a mobile phone.

Then, diversity meant some devices had 7 lines of text other had 3.

A few months later, I moved onto a new gig where I was designing location-specific websites to be delivered to laptops and very-alpha Linux-based tablet PCs with stylus-input.

Today, there are an ever increasing menagerie of mobile devices1 accessing HTTP-based services. The differences in their interaction models, primary usage contexts, and device capabilities make the IE vs. Firefox vs. Safari design challenges look like bad case of hiccups.

The design goal can no longer be one of consistency in visual design, but consistency of brand experience across multiple contexts and appropriateness of any specific interaction within a given context.

That’s the promise the mobile web made me a decade ago.

Justin Grammens and I cover this and many other mobile computing topics in our recent podcast [mp3]

1. G1, iPhone, Kindle, Chumbly, Palm, etc. I’ll even include Twitter in this list of devices applications should be designed for.