Desktop to App to Mobile

After our lecture on mobile site screen optimization and seeing the decline in desktop usage in comparison to mobile usage, I decided to investigate that trend. For me I have historically always leaned toward using my desktop. Even if I am in away from my computer I will wait until I can have the user experience with a full screen, keyboard, and mouse rather than suffer from the fat-finger syndrome. The article I found began talking about how we have shifter from desktop to mobile app usage, and then went on to surprise me by saying that within the next ten years we will shift again from app usage to mobile sites, a trend I would expect to work the other way.

The article talked a little about the disadvantage of mobile apps compared to desktop use from a coding, slow connectivity, and hover/double click standpoint. However, it also stressed the importance and ease of a mobile app because an app can target specific limitations and abilities of the user and their device. The experience is much easier to streamline across all platforms and devices, rather than being limited to a browser’s capabilities. Up to this point it all made sense to me. For mobile use, apps have always seemed easier to use to me. I was not expecting to go from a internally coded simple app to a mobile site on a browser.

However, after reading the reasoning made much more sense. Moving forward the technology in our mobile devices both hard and software will increase exponentially making the maintenance of an app expensive. In addition, the screen sizes will change periodically as devices evolve and will always remain different across different brands of mobile devices (Apple, Samsung, etc.) making it very difficult, and again expensive to keep up with the size parameters within each UI app platform. However, HTML5 will always keep improving and is much more forgiving in various browsers across various devices seeing that it was easily be set up as a responsive design.

The last point it makes is best summed up by this quote from the article; “Apps may remain better for tasks that are intensely feature-rich applications, such as photo editing — whereas mobile sites will be better for design problems like e-commerce/m-commerce, corporate websites, news, medical info, social networking, etc. that are rich in content but don’t require intense data manipulation.” This seems like a reasonable prediction to the future of mobile design. Though we aren’t expected to see these trend changes for a few years and don’t know when exactly it will happen, one thing is certain, mobile sites will begin to trump mobile applications within our lifetime.

The article can be viewed here.


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