This morning, I was reading a cryptic article on the reasons why Google and Facebook will greatly lose popularity over the next five years. I can barely imagine my life without Google and Facebook, but something that the article said made sense: the web is moving out of the Web 2.0 phase and on to its mobile phase, and companies that don’t adapt to mobile won’t be as popular. I don’t tend to be the person who is first in line to buy all the newest gadgets (I’m thrifty, okay?), but my favorite Christmas present last year was my Kindle Fire. My father, who needed a 15-minute explanation on how he could start following people on Twitter, is hooked on his Android phone. It takes no genius to figure out we’re living in a mobile world.
One of my favorite features of my Kindle Fire is digital magazine subscriptions. They’re much cheaper than buying a magazine at the store each month, and they don’t pollute (I’m a thrifty hippy). I subscribe to Cosmopolitan and to Fitness Magazine, and I’ve definitely noticed a difference on how each publication has adapted to the mobile landscape. Cosmopolitan’s digital version is identical to the print version. There are no interactive features, and the layout is exactly the same as in print, which is not always the easiest to read. Fitness Magazine, on the other hand, is using mobile’s interactivity to their advantage.
The digital version of Fitness Magazine starts with an interactive table of contents that makes it easy to browse through the articles. The layout is accommodated to the size of my screen so everything is easy to read without having to zoom in. But my favorite aspect of the digital version is the workout videos. The print version of the magazine publishes a couple of workout routines each month, but for me it’s hard to figure out what “hinge forward at the waist while raising your heel to your opposite knee” is supposed to mean without some visuals. The digital version has videos of all the moves in the magazine so I always know I’m doing it (more or less) right.
Just like radio survived video, Web 2.0 can survive mobile if it adapts. For me it’s much easier to use Facebook on my computer than it is on my Kindle Fire, so Facebook needs to prepare for a future when sitting down to use a laptop may be the equivalent of listening to a serial on the radio by improving its mobile presence. How do you think companies can improve their mobile websites?