Design

But the future is here: a design debate

By March 9, 2016 No Comments

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We keep going on and on about how the future is going to be “mobile”, but in reality how far are we from this future? I’d say that this future is already here.

Consider this – in the year 2014, smartphone growth surpassed that of desktop computer, and was unofficially dubbed as the “year of smartphones”. In the year 2015, global smartphone sales reached 1.4 billion units, an increase of 14.4% from 2014. So it is safe to say that a big majority of the world population will have their first interaction with technology through a 5×3 inch screen in their pocket rather than a laptop or a PC.

The demand for the mobile space is growing with leaps and bounds, leading to the assumption that the industry too would be rapidly evolving to match pace with the growing demand and to cater to the needs of a new breed of users.

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I’m afraid this is a rather big misconception. Don’t believe me? Recent statistics reveal that only 3% of the Fortune 1000’s websites have been designed to be compatible to mobile devices.

I’m sure this fact would have shocked you as much as it did me, but this really is the current state of affairs. At a time when demand for mobile devices surpasses their desktop counterparts, the mobile medium still doesn’t get the level of attention that it deserves.

Let’s quickly recap the evolution of design in the last couple of years. Up until the last decade, designers would design just for the desktop using the traditional 960 grid system. At the time, many would have probably mocked the idea of designing separately for mobile users.

Then came the dawn of smartphones, and designers had to come to terms with the fact that the design process can no more be stopped at desktops. And with that, people started to ensure that their final desktop designs were optimised to cater to mobile users.

Now, in an age where more and more users are going mobile, shouldn’t this process be reversed? Shouldn’t designers first design a particular project for mobile and then optimise it for desktop?

This probably sounds counter-intuitive to you, right? But the reality is that desktop users seem like a minority when compared to their mobile counterparts. Say out of 100 users, around 80 are on mobile, while the other 20 are on desktop. Now who are you going to cater first?

Food for thought?