I’ve just found an interesting report on Adaptive Web Technology which was promoted by Netbiscuits on Twitter.
The report stated the urgent need for business leaders to ‘evaluate mobile web strategies’ to accommodate for the fast paced rate of web evolution. It is thought that there are currently 1.2 billion mobile subscriptions in the world (17% of the global population).
It is predicted that mobile internet usage will soon take over desktop internet usage, with web connection being made available through watches, cars, glasses (Google Glass, anyone?), household appliances and not to mention the transforming models for televisions and gaming consoles.
Of course, with every new piece of technology, there are multiple issues to consider. Some of the issues mentioned in the report include:
- Browser windows on mobiles are not resizable like those on a laptop, for example.
- Varying input methods: computers/laptops require a mouse and clicking, whereas on a mobile, you are most likely using ‘multi-finger gestures’ when navigating through pages.
- Differing contextual usage: smartphones and tablets = on the go vs. desktops = serious working time.
The report states that by 2016, 2.1 billion mobile browsers will have adopted HTML5 browsers, therefore there will be increasing pressure for mobile developers.
So, what does this mean in the publishing world?
Ebook technology is already available on mobile devices through apps, and of course the Kindle and other tablets such as iPad accommodate for ebooks. I believe that as ebooks evolve, the interaction which they will be able to provide will be enhanced by mobile technology. Particularly for academic ebooks and journals, links to external web pages and videos will be emphasised by this evolving web technology. I think fiction books could evolve with this kind of technology, too. Think Pottermore but on a larger scale. Can you image published ebooks which are also accommodated with a virtual world? Of course I can immediately think of a multitude of additional disadvantages to the idea (for a start it would take away the reader’s perception of the story) however, I do feel that small additional snippets to accommodate the story could work.
I also wrote an entry a while back detailing a talk I attended which was given by Stephen Bourne about Imagineering the Book Trade in 2050 and how he stated that books in small chucks would be available on mobile devices and accessed via mobile web technology. Should his prediction prove right, then certainly the publishing industry could thrive. Perhaps publishers could develop their own apps in the future where readers can buy these bite-size stories (perhaps charging per chunk?) or could give the opportunity of buying and downloading ebooks like you would to a Kindle.
Certainly the opportunities which can be offered through mobile web technology are extraordinary and I feel that the publishing world could really benefit from the new technologies if they are applied effectively.