January 17, 2014
A colleague of mine here at Forrester lives out in San Francisco now. And given his new proximity to the "wellhead of innovation" that is silicon valley, he took advantage and attended a talk by Luke Wroblewski. Luke wrote "Mobile First" back in 2011, and he's continued on to be a prominent figure in the mobile design speaking circuit. And Luke is not the only leading RWD and mobile UX author to keep their momentum going and become a talking head. Ethan Marcotte, author of the orginal "Responsive Web Design" article back in 2010, and Brad Frost have become prominent figures prosletyzing mobile and the next new, bleeding edge aspect of mobile UX design. While I appreciate their thought leadership, I find it increasingly frustrating to hear about how the mobile technology capabilities and market are moving so fast, and yet the bulk of organizations aren't investing to keep up. So I want to write an open letter:
"Dear Mobile Hype Leaders,
We get it. Mobile is here to stay. Please slow the hype train down.
The revolution was established with the heralding of RWD in 2010, but now we're in evolution mode, and most of world needs time to catch up. Please concede you're speaking to the 1%. The mobile elite. Your fellow developers. The 99% — business leaders in this case — are excited to hear about the bleeding edge of mobile UX and mobile development, but they don't understand how to bridge their reality today with your mobile city-on-a-hill. Your audience might be surprised to hear that if business leadership says, "forget this, I am gonna pay agency X to build that awesome experience", then be prepared to reap the whirlwind. The rest of the business strategy and business systems may get left behind with no road map to catch up. Yup, dad just left the rest of the family on the platform because he sprinted to catch your mobile train, not realizing that young and old couldn't keep up.
Don't get me wrong, there are lots of talented developers doing really good and cutting edge work, but the 99% have a wide range of maturity needs that extend well beyond front-end design.
Here at Forrester, we're attempting to fill in the blanks. We recently published a report "Six Responsive Website Project Pitfalls And The Best Practices For How To Avoid Them" to help development teams tackle their first RWD project. And we've also made a point to highlight the caveats, which sum up as 'a responsive site by itself will not solve all of your digital customer experience needs on web channels, but it's a good start'. We're moving on to cover web design and development prototyping tools, and interview those organizations who have already launched a responsive site to understand how they're measuring success and continuing to improve. If you're interested in participating in either one, please reach out.
What do you think? What's the sticking point for mobile/ omni-channel web for your organization?