Mobile Site, Then Apps

For the past several years, the mobile web has made the cut on many lists of predictions for the year to come (see #2 on 7 Predictions for 2010 for just one of many examples). In fact, I feel like this topic has been on my radar consistently for the last two or three years.

Tweet about 2010 being the year of mobile

I remember having several conversations in 2009 about whether to focus on mobile apps or mobile sites first. I still agree with what I said then: mobile first, then apps. Mobile sites (well, good mobile sites) are device agnostic. In many cases, they serve as a user’s first point of contact with your organization. So why would it be acceptable to ignore your mobile site in favor of a fancy app? The typical app will serve one segment of your audience well, not your entire base of mobile users. (See also the University Business article, “The State of the Mobile Web in Higher Ed.”)

I’m happy to say that it looks the lists of predictions for 2012 finally echo this sentiment:

“This isn’t the first time mobile has been mentioned in a year-end, forward-looking blog post, but 2012 is the year that if your institution fails to have a mobile website in place you will be severely behind the curve. You must be ready for this, but don’t make the process anymore complex than it needs to be.” (“Forget the Mayans: Social Thoughts for 2012” on Brandmanager’s Notebook)

What do you think? And what are your mobile-related predictions for 2012?