by Ron Miller
Whether you're prepared or not mobile is taking over. Recent research by Netbiscuits (pdf download; registration required), a mobile web solutions provider, found that mobile users will not be trifled with when it comes to performance or mobile readiness.
They feel the need for speed and they want their content now. And I mean now. How does this manifest itself? First of all 41 percent reported speed being number one issue for them.
Even more important though, a full 76 percent -- that's right three quarters of all users -- say they that they will leave if your site if it's not optimized for mobile -- I know I will. And almost a third, 32 percent, say they will never return. That's right, you've lost them for good because you didn't take the time to make your site suitable for the mobile device.
And let's face it, at this point in the development of mobile, there's really no excuse not to be generating apps and mobile-optimized web sites. That's because people are spending more and more and more time on the web. In fact, China leads the way, with 53 percent of mobile consumers spending 6 or more hours a day on the mobile web. The US and UK both sit at 22 percent. France is the lowest with 15 percent. The differences in the chart below can easily be attributed to the fact that in non-Western countries, people tend to access the web exclusively from their mobile devices.
Photo Credit: Netbiscuits
The report found that only 27 percent of are using apps. Now it's worth noting at this point that the creator of this report is a company that offers services for creating mobile websites, and there is always the danger of bias in vendor sponsored reports.
In fact, last week speaking on a panel at the E2 Conference in Boston, Brian Katz, Head of Mobility Engineering at Sanofi, was not convinced that HTML5 is really dominating as these numbers would suggest. " Eighty to 90 percent of apps on mobile devices are native," he said, adding, "People have been saying HTML5 is winning for the last five years. It ain't."
Whoever is right, the switch to mobile is clearly happening and your company needs to be there too or you are alienating a good number of the world's user who can't access the internet, whether through apps or mobile web, any other way than via their mobile devices.
Even in wealthier countries with wider device choice, the scale is very quickly tipping toward mobile. That's why you need to consider how you're going to deliver mobile applications and your web site on mobile devices, sooner than later.
Regardless of what you think of these numbers, the fact is that independent research confirms that mobile is taking over and you need to adapt your development environment to accomodate that -- and you need to do it now.
Photo Credit: Ed Yourdon on Flickr. Used under CC 2.0 Share Alike/Attrbution License.