Last month I wrote about the bleeding edge tech, which can be defined as promising new technology that pushes conventional limits so far that should it fail, could lead early adopters to incur painful hardship and expense. This month and next, I will be sharing about two once bleeding-edge technologies that have found their way to the mainstream.
We’ve all heard of “mobile friendly websites,” and we all know when a website IS NOT mobile friendly the moment it pops up on our phone. Zoom in, zoom out… pan over here, and then zoom back in. Click on a menu item to dive deeper, and before you can tap where you want to go, you’re taken somewhere else because your fingers are just too big to tap in the right spot.
It wasn’t long ago that mobile friendly websites were bleeding edge. In the early days, the idea was that when a person visited your website, the back-end system could perform some computer magic and if the visitor was on a phone, it would take them to a completely different website, geared specifically for small screens and fat fingers.
This strategy worked, but it was costly. It brought the Internet to phones, and users could quickly find your company’s address and phone number without the hassles described above. The challenge was that all of this was happening at the same time as the “content revolution,” which resulted in fresh content needing to be added separately to multiple websites, each time in a manner specific to the device it would be viewed on.
This got the job done, but if you wanted to build a website in this manner, you were going to be spending some big bucks now and large amounts of time down the road keeping your sites in sync. The benefit was there for many forward-thinking businesses, though, and they took the leap.
Fast forward 4-5 years, and when I’m talking with clients about ensuring their websites are mobile friendly, I prefer to turn the conversation to a term we now call “responsive.” We don’t just want your website to look good on a PC and a phone… we want it to look good on ANY device, whether that’s a phone held sideways, a large tablet, or a 65” big screen. The term “responsive” represents your website’s ability to detect and “respond” to a changing screen size, and when a website is built on this foundation, it gives the site the ability to share its all-important content in a way that’s natural and easy to navigate, regardless of the device being used.
This is where those early adopters’ investment in bleeding edge benefits us all. They may have gotten there first and paid a little more to do so, but they paved the way for the rest of us to experience the same results without the headaches involved with getting there first.
Next month we’ll look at another technology that was once untested, rough around the edges, and without a clear path forward, that is now taking the world by storm: cloud-based email and file storage.
For publication in the Hendricks County Business Leader – November 2017
Chet Cromer is the president of C2IT Consulting, Inc., a Plainfield-based technology business that provides websites, mobile apps, and IT consulting/support to businesses across central Indiana. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (317) 721-2248.