I was inspired by a short, albeit deep, blog post by Seth Godin. He’s an idea guru who writes about the post-industrial revolution, and is the founder of Squidoo. To many professionals, he is on the short list of people to follow on the internet, and hopefully one day meet in person.
Last month Seth wrote a post called “Without a Keyboard”. The post is about the trends in tech guiding us down the wrong path, giving up our “tools” for the smaller things that are supposed to better enrich our lives. For example, giving up our desktop computers and keyboards in exchange for tablets and smartphones.
He starts the post with a very daring question:
When the masses only connect to the net without a keyboard, who will be left to change the world?
Which brings me something I’ve long thought. The number of mobile users accessing websites and online stores continues to skyrocket. Still, there are plenty of us who still want to shop and read on a larger screen. We want to enter our contact information using a physical keyboard. We want to compose messages that mean something, instead of short-handing all our communication because we resort to shorthand when using a mobile device.
My question is: Why are we putting so much focus on mobile websites that we start compromising on the rest?
Every day I run across webstores that function better and look more clean on my iPhone. Granted, the functionality of a mobile site is somewhat different than it should be on a desktop system, but why am I able to perform certain tasks on one and not the other? I’m not referring to mobile-only functions, I’m talking about simple things like saving items to a wishlist or fast-tracking my purchase.
I believe that, just as product videos should be complimentary to textual content, mobile sites should not result in the abandonment of desktop design and functionality. We need to give our users the best of both worlds by offering the option of navigating content by their preferred method.