Five years ago today (29 June 2007) the first iPhone was launched. Exactly 200 years earlier during the Russo-Turkish War the Ottoman fleet is destroyed at the Battle of Athos. Whether these two events are connected we’ll never know.
What we do know is this signaled a new era in mobile technology (the iPhone launch that is, not the naval battle). Since Apple launched the first iPhone they have sold hundreds of millions of the devices, over 70 million this year alone.
It is now predicted that in two years 90% of mobile users only option will be to own a smartphone.
So what does this all mean?
Well apart from future generations being better at Angry Birds than Snake (my best was 1242 on a Nokia 5110) it means that the majority of population will own a device that is capable of mobile web browsing.
Currently in the UK mobile internet usage is at 28% and is expected to rise to 46% by 2016.
Our own statistics for www.devon.gov.uk tell us that from April 2012 to date 6.63% of our visits are from mobile devices. Compared to the figures above this doesn’t seem like much but this figure has doubled over the past 2 years:
Apr 2010 – Apr 2011 = 1.15%
Apr 2011 – Apr 2012 = 3.48%
If the pattern continues we can at least reasonably expect to see 10% of our traffic coming from mobile devices in the next couple of years.
As a local authority we need to be prepared for how this will impact on our user experiences. My colleague Matt has already blogged on the importance of having an effective responsive layout and mentioned that we’re currently working on responsive layouts for our websites.
We also need to consider how people will be interacting and engaging with us through mobile devices.
As we redesign our website into a digital service, we need to focus on all aspects starting with content, and then build a solution which is responsive by default. We are only at the beginning of this journey and we have a large website to review and reduce in size and complexity, while working harder so our end users don’t have to.
Our aim is to provide access to content and services where and when they’re need without users having to make a further call or come into a building – we know this won’t be easy and it requires a change in how we think, design, develop and manage digital content and services.