Forbes Interview on Mobile First

by February 15, 2012

A little while ago I had the pleasure of chatting with Anthony Kosner at Forbes about mobile product design. We discussed mobile advertising, focus, performance, content, and a lot more. You can read the whole thing over at Forbes or just enjoy the tasty tidbits I pulled out below.

One thing I can tell you for sure is that everything you have is not going to be relevant for everybody. Therefore, exposing every single option to every single person that comes to your site is by definition a losing proposition. Yet that's what pretty much every website does.
…there are all these little things you can learn and add up, but many organizations don't bother doing that. They just give everybody everything.
I hear it over and over again, "The mobile site is so simple, I wish the desktop site was that easy." And I hear that from the CEOs of big companies that have gone through the process of developing a mobile app or a mobile website and they see their service boiled down to its core essence through the constraints of mobile because there's small screen size, there's low bandwidth. You sort of have to cut it out, cut it out, cut it out until just the important stuff is left. And they see that raw experience and they say that's what we're all about, that's what we should be doing everywhere.
This is why I think that mobile is the first order priority device for access, because it's always with you, always connected and you can kind of do it anywhere and everywhere, whereas a lot of these other devices have a home, if you will. The desktop's at the office. The tablet's at the house. The TV's at the house. You're generally not watching TV during the day, but the smartphone is always with you, always connected so it kind of becomes the first line of defense.
So if you look at the things that people generally assume nobody will do on mobile, "nobody's going to watch video, the screen's too small, the experience is going to be totally crappy." And here you have the world's largest video site saying within a year, the dominant use case will be mobile. And I think there are a lot of these expectations like, "the screen's small so people won't blank." And very quickly you realize that's not true…
In-app purchases, subscriptions, all that good stuff, give you an opportunity to rethink how can we actually make money, instead of just slapping ads all over the place, hoping page views make up for our costs.
I think people in general will pay for packaging and they will pay for experiences. If you have something of quality and you respect it and treat it that way, and you communicate that through how you present and design it for your customer, I think they will value it likewise.

The full interview is available on Forbes.