Content in an Elastic Environment

The parameters in development of websites has evolved over time, for example:
From 1994 for the first decade of my Internet career, my largest concern was the amount of time a page took to download over a modem. (my rule was 30 seconds) We developed for a 640 x 480 px screen size.

Design during this time often encompassed blinking headings, multiple fonts and vari-coloured everything.
The mass adoption of broadband saw a shift to much more content heavy pages , the average page these days would take minutes to download on a modem. Development was for 1024 x 768 screens and more modern processors.
Since around 2010 and emphatically over the past year the emphasis has shifted to an elastic design model- building pages that not only look good on your desktop computer, but on your iphone or android device.
The reason is simple: content delivery is rapidly moving to mobile devices as the preferred receiver. Our world has shifted. Wireless / 3g / H+ and now 4g have probably already exceeded broadband in number of devices connected.

What does all this mean, especially to someone who is not a developer?

When you make content delivery decisions such as when setting up a business website or blog, you need to make sure the pages you write look good on mobile devices as well as Personal Computers and Notebooks

Recently Telcos in Australia have slashed out the amount of data offered on mobile plans, but are being deceptive in the way they are spinning this.

“We recently conducted a survey amongst our customers which showed the
average amount of data being used per month is less than 500MB,” Optus’s managing director of marketing, Michael Smith, said. “With this in mind, we’ve refreshed our range of post-paid plans to reflect current customer trends.”

Sydney Morning Herald Nov 5 2012

I don’t know about what Michael Smith survey revealed – my data requirements are greater every month.

Developers should see new opportunities in not only creating new mobile responsive sites but in changing older sites over from desktop broadband friendly to lean and mobile responsive sites.
If you are working with a developer, make sure you specify that a design needs to work on mobile devices. – There are many developers out there who either don’t care or won’t change.

I made a decision a while back that all new development I do will be mobile responsive . I have always tried when possible to make page loads as fast as possible. I believe that this will become much more important in the near future. As more people switch on mobile devices for internet content retrieval, the more Telcos will be stretched to deliver bandwidth at an acceptable speed.

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