Mobile is not a technology that mature Product Development Managers (like me) have grown with. However, Mobile is nothing to be afraid of; it’s just a new platform.
Early in my career, I was an account manager working for a software start-up, and over the eight years that followed, I lived through many technological changes. Initially, we developed tools for Sun’s version of Unix but that platform soon matured and reached its decline as Linux gained market share. Windows was a new market for us and then Java came along as a brand new programming language that was platform independent. Then the Internet really bloomed as more people got connected; it made distributed computing, SAAS and computing in “the cloud” a possibility. Today, Mobile is the new platform and the next challenge for Product Managers.
Although Mobile is growing, most web applications are still accessed via Desktop browsers. Data indicate that the Mobile’s share of website visitors is about 25% however, it grew by 10% from 2012 to 20131 and is poised for more growth as Tablet shipments will outpace Desktops this year2.
If you manage a Desktop web application, you still need to develop and test for Desktop browsers. However, your product’s roadmap must show how you will tackle the Mobile market as more and more users will need some type of access to your application on their Mobile devices.
If the majority of your users still access your application via the Desktop and your application is complex and/or content intensive, you should think about re-designing your site to offer a Mobile responsive experience. Mobile responsive websites resize properly to various screen sizes and you only need to build one website for all devices. You can read more about Mobile responsive design here: http://mobiledevices.about.com/od/additionalresources/a/Responsive-Web-Design-For-Mobile-An-Introduction.htm
If you are entrusted with such a project, you are very lucky as it will bring about some new and exciting experiences.
In the next article, I will try to breakdown the process I followed in moving from a desktop-only web application to creating a Mobile responsive experience.