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August 01, 2007

Forrester Disses Microcontent

IN A REVIEW of the iPhone as a browser, three analysts from Forrester Research conclude there's no imperative in producing microblogs such as those powered by Twitter or Jaiku--better to focus on full-featured browsing experiences. Forrester evaluated the iPhone's capabilities, concluding that "the iPhone signals the beginning of the end for the mobile Web as we know it today: Stripped-down sites crammed onto the small screens of devices meant for phoning, not browsing, will become a thing of the past." If that conclusion is true, then Twitter, Jaiku, and mobile-friendly sites with such useful purposes as getting location information or event details have no compelling usage for those who use mobile browsers that deliver news shorts, traffic alerts, or business intelligence as headlines. No wait--Forrester also recommends "firms should continue to experiment with the mobile Web sites they own today in order to learn how to create content that is timely, location-aware, and actionable for users on the go." Sounds contradictory to me. Or it sounds like Forrester knows you need to recognise the fast-rising trend to browse the internet on mobile phones.

When you're on the move, it is not good to have to scrub a screen for data. You need your information in the main focal area, like on a radar scope or a target screen. If you must scroll left and right, up and down on a screen scrunched onto a small viewing area, you will miss data.

Information architects have years of experience that point to the better solution. You give a mobile user less on the screen but several options for data presentation. You optimise the display of data for the mobile users. You do not develop better screen animations or clever touch-sensitive effects to entertain (and slow down) the user.

Good mobile data is inherently easy to use, quick to display and minimalist to ensure rapid download and quick comprehension. I would not want to think that the next generation of mobile internet screens--the ones set to appear in automobiles--will be as cluttered as the script-heavy, widget-filled, distracting experiences that represent most of the worldwide web today. There are strong reasons for a special flavour of mobile web information. The iPhone tries to repackage information attractively. A well-developed mobile web site presents clean-coded information that works well on an iPhone or a smaller mobile phone browser.


Vidya Lakshmipathy -- "The Mobile Web Versus The Web On An iPhone: iPhone Wins In A Blowout"
Dave Winer -- "Forrester is wrong."

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Comments

Do "analyst" companies like Forrester still exist?

I'd be laughed out of the room if I quoted a Forrester Report in a presentation or any report by one of the other usual suspects that were must-haves in the late 90's. The only thing the iPhone signals is final proof of the utter irrelevance of companies like Forrester.

In 1999, who didn't have "X estimates that this will be a $4B market by 2009" where X is one of Gartner, Forrester, IDC, blah or blah.

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