Once upon a time…
In the first century of the 3rd millennium (aka the 21st century) the world was full of websites designed and developed with high-speed internet access in mind. Then one day, mobile feature phones were introduced: Palm, Inc. (remember them?), Kyocera 6035 and the HP iPaq h6315 look. Today they look like something from the dark ages! It wasn’t until 2009 that a few companies started noting mobile phone usage rising and started to develop their own mobile initiatives. At that time, data networks had far slower speeds. Designers were faced with a problem: they needed to allow the small screen carrying “on-the-go” user access to their content without frustration.
The solution: Native apps and m.sites were born. Brilliant. Limited function to be viewed in this mobile context. It made complete sense. Traditional websites and mobile solutions lived independently and happily One of our clients said then “all we want is a mobile site that looks like our contemporary [then mid-90s!] website.”.
But, then one day the K48 (the iPad) and other tablets joined the list of available offerings for both home and on-the-go users. Android and more recently Win8 tablets followed suit and here we are on the edge of a holiday season where the tablet is the number one gift. The tablets that were introduced had screen sizes that weren’t quite as large as a super-sized widescreen monitor and weren’t quite as tiny as a smartphone. Designers stopped in their tracks and considered a new challenge: Do we continue to design a solution for every form factor that emerges or is it possible to try to find a way to make our websites accessible AND user friendly across all form factors?