Mobilism 2011: PPK & Stephanie Rieger’s Sessions

Dear reader, As a way to both pay attention and have a good record of the proceedings, I like to type out transcriptions/paraphrases of conference sessions. Here is my transcription/paraphrase for PPK’s The future of the mobile web and Stephanie Rieger’s Beyond the Mobile Web at Mobilism 2011. – Ms. Jen
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PPK – The future of the mobile web
Stephanie Rieger – Beyond the Mobile Web

PPK – The future of the mobile web
Peter-Paul Koch
Where is the mobile web heading?
Native vs web – YAWWWN
A year and half ago, we needed to find the border, but now we have figured out when you need a native app and when you need mobile web app.
It depends!
Room for both
We just have to figure out when native is better than web, and vice versa
Native apps to focused on Android and iOS, who are only 38% of the market, but they are the ones that folks are developing for.
HTML5 apps: A quite elegant construction
One core app written HTML< CSS and JS Deployed to several mobile platforms Ideally, CSS and JS are stored on the device If it can't be deployed it still a website. HTML5 app deployment (Nitobi) Device APIs Native apps offer device APIs They allow you to access the camera, accelerometer, SMS, fire system, etc. They tie in your site for app with the mobile context Web asps will have to offer them, too Brian Leroux will discuss later to day The Fisherman story: What phone is he using: Most likely a Nokia 1100 or 1200 for $25 - which is a lot of $$$ for a poor fisherman The invent of the cheap Android for $75, but the cheap Android by 2014 will be on par with a cheap Nokia -> at that time he will have a phone with apps & the mobile web
What will he do with that phone? Keep track of prices, keep track to multiple ships, etc.
PPK spins forward to the Fisherman’s cousin who is also a fisherman, who has a samsung not a nokia, but the fisherman’s web app can run both on the Nokia and Samsung. But how will they purchase the app, as they are both too poor for a credit card or bank account.
I don’t think this fisherman has a data plan, as data plans are expensive. So, he can’t download the app from the web.
PPK thinks that web apps will be shared via bluetooth P2P, it is already being done.
Symbian and Windows Mobile both support WC3 HTML5 widgets -> he sent a widget from the Nokia to the Win Phone via Bluetooth.
And it worked, Almost. There was a compatibility issue. But still the concept was viable.
PPK thinks that the fishermen will share HTML5 apps via bluetooth. How are we going to get data from the cloud/web? PPK thinks it will likely be JSON as it is light-weight and it already works everywhere. But how do we get the JSON on the phone? Wifi? Not available. Data plan? Too expensive. SMS? Sounds about right.
SMS is the only way of pushing data to a phone where data is too expensive to the user
Premium SMS allows the service to make money easily
Nearly every phone supports SMS
It’s human-readable (more or less)
Two problems of JSON over SMS:
1. But cost, as the operators are greedy.
Maybe prices will go down
Or maybe something else will take the place of SMS.
IM? (Nokia, Blackberry)
As long as it’s a push medium and you can charge for it.
2. And: Illiteracy
images instead of text?
image of fish : 0.88
Needs to be solved.
Or a voice-over app?
But if the user can share apps freely
End of app stores
What do we need app stores for?
Ease of payments sand making money
Cost of ownership
Works for Apple. But will it work for anyone else?
Distribution : Can distribute via the web, except with Apple
Discoverability : With 300K+ apps, how will anyone find your app?
Big marketing campaign? Indie devs getting wealthy from app stores is a myth
Payments: via credit cards or operator payments (added to monthly payment or deducted from pre-paid)
Kenya is the most advanced country for Payments. 25% of GDP is sent via operator payments -> money sent from phone to phone for folks who don’t have credit cards or bank accounts – m pesa
Cost of Ownership
App store needs:
Payment system, sysadmins, content checkers, documentation and best practices writers, hosting
Over 100 app stores, PPK doubts that the app stores besides Apple are making money
Works for Apple
Apple has natural advantage as they have leverage with enthusiastic devs and affluent consumers
Google has leverage with developers
Nokia, Samsung, and RIM have leverage with consumers, who are less willing to spend money
One of the challenges for Nokia and RIM is to grow their pool of developers
But none of them has both
End of the app stores?
Will any app stores survive?
Maybe a few other platform-specific ones will survive, too. (eg Nokia, Samsung, RIM, etc)
Specialized app stores (Structural engineering, music creation, etc) will survive
Future of the Mobile Web
Many native apps will be replace by web apps which can run anywhere
Device APIS (but with security)
Apps will be share via Bluetooth
Web data will also be offered vis SMS
Pay for content, not app
App stores will be on the defensive
Thank you! I hope I have given you some food for thought.
“We have created the internet in our own image, and in America the internet is obese.” – Jason Grigsby
Stephanie RiegerBeyond the Mobile Web
Part I : Massive Change
Where we are at now, and how we got here
The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves in to the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguisable from it – Mark Weiser 1991
Physical and tangible – if you wanted knowledge you went to the library
You wanted to be social you went to a club or cafe
You wanted to consume, you went to a shop
These behaviors were imposed on us by culture, society, and plain old physics and geography.
The internet came along and whoosh… everything changed.
but until recently doing the internet was a physical activity at a desk
This context has been turned on its head…

77% of folks on the planet have a mobile phone, soon everyone will have some kind of mobile device
Free platforms
+ low coast components
= a perfect storm
One can now build a device for a small amount of money and throw a free platform on it and have a device produced 6-8 weeks for less than $100
It is equalizing things in really weird ways, now a the feature phone of today are the smartphone of two years ago
which brings us to mobile all over the world

being in all sorts of places at once and connect has become trivial, it is what we do.
boundaries between the internet and life for so porous as to be meaningless
The mobile internet is more convenient than my home connection – say 30% of respondents of a Yahoo/Nielsen Mobile Shopping survey
in the past things you did on a mobile were done very quick… mobile context
80% use mobile during misc downtime or waiting
People are doing unexpected things on their phone. A Cessna plane was bought via eBay’s mobile app.
… and for many, mobile is the only access point that people have for the internet
25% of all americans don’t use the internet at home but only use their mobile
UK 22%, Egypt 70%, etc.
With current trends, by 2015, mobile web access will exceed desktop computers.
Mobile is no longer just a tiny little screen, but it is also tablets, it is also smartphones with good screens.
Does it matter what is mobile & what is desktop?
The problem is that we had all these guidelines for designing for desktop and for mobile, while still true, not always.
Guardian mobile reader loves the mobile site, but wants more news. Another wants a text only version of the desktop site.
Context is no way to predict how people will use your website.
The problem space: How do we go about creating the next generation of content rich, meaningful, usable and interesting web sites, that are designed to operate in a generally smaller, more varied and far less predictable environment
Beyond the Mobile Web:
Idea 1: Loosen Up
Control is now an illusion, there is too much diversity
data wants to move around
brand presence as we once knew it is disappearing, the content is what is important
The conversations is not occurring on brand sites, but on Facebook or thereabouts
so why are we still obsessed with controlling every pixel on our website often at the expense of access
But people can’t see your website at all on a blackberry or other phones
Access is a factor of user experience now
You can’t plan for every contingency
Stephanie ran into an excerise bike with android
create nimble experiences – not perfect ones
Idea 2: let Them Tweak
Progressive enhancement is more important than ever
why not let uses participate in these enhancements
choose the enhancement that are most meaningful to them
All websites need to have a UX baseline, then provide meaningful enhancements
Let user adjust data consumption
Provide a choice of size of quality for key content and media
Tweak the reading experience: tap and pinch/zoom does not solve everything
let users set persistent reading preferences – eg bibliotype by Craig Mod
or even tweak the whole experience, eg MIT Media Lab logo algorithm
if you don’t, they’ll probably do it themselves
Idea 3: Content first
We have been talking about mobile first, but maybe we should be talking about content first
find a happy medium between the zen mobile and the busy desktop
“No matter how cool your interface is, it would be nice if there were less of it.” – Alan Cooper
On smaller screens, content naturally ends up front and center
semantic structures can be used to create incredibly right and relevant
most sites are built as giant data containers with different areas accommodate different data for different…
this makes sense for extra-huge sites like amazon and google, etc
or if the content is user generated then the content is structured data
but can be pretty painful if you need to produce rich content like this (brand sites)
so the layout is responsive, the content is barely.
What if we design content more like applications?
Idea 4: Build applications that diversify & decentralized
maybe the big container sites are no longer needed to meet our needs
perhaps of a couple of smaller sites would do just fine
decouple our communications from web site to blogs, facebook , twitter, etc.
our product marketing goes to YouTube
our human resources have gone to LinkedIn
Yet still united by the brand message
think of it as a ecosystem of touchpoints, utilities and conversations
We have examples of this already: google is one brand with many products that are executed in different ways
enabling the freedom to experiment
Amazon uses a lot of experiment
and create the best experience for each audience (eg: The BBC)
Decide what is best to your audience and go to them
Distribute in places that make sense