The essays cover the rise of mobile in general but also the implementation of mobile technology in the context of physical spaces and providing content to a broader audience. They are free to download, so I’d definitely recommend having a read one lunchtime, whether you work in the arts or not.

Quite a few of the quotes come from Tom Grinsted at the Guardian, so a shout out to him. And to learn more on this topic, check out this Econsultancy resource:

On changing habits

Tom Grinsted, Group Product Manager for Mobile and Devices at the Guardian:

“The shift to mobile is driven by habit. As an example, in Guardian mobile apps, peak consumption is now in the evening, between 9pm and midnight.

“This is when people are often at home surrounded by devices—desktops, laptops, smart-TVs—that are all objectively better for content consumption than mobiles. But people reach for their phones because they’re habitualised to them.”

On the demands of mobile UX

Tom Grinsted, the Guardian:

“Consumers on smartphones are in many ways more demanding and less forgiving than those on other media. Phones are used in highly distracting environments, on connections with variable speeds and have unique interaction concerns.”

On compatibility and future-proofing

Iain Aitch, writer, discusses the Royal Opera House’s development of responsive HTML5 digital programmes to allow remote fans to experience content based around performances:

“Sometimes it seems far better to look forward with technology, rather than struggle to create a legacy product. Drawing a line in the version sand means that users catch up with you, rather than you constantly having issues trying to support older devices.”

On the limitations of mobile

James Tetlow, Head of Digital Development, Royal Opera House, considers the leap from a shiny brochure to a mobile multimedia experience:

“We underestimated how difficult customers would find the mental model of a digital programme.”

Tom Grinsted, the Guardian: 

“People in the future, just like those in the present and in the past, will always seek genuine, emotionally enriching experiences. Sometimes these will be facilitated by mobile technologies, but sometimes through the deliberate exclusion of them.

“…Mobiles are intensely personal tools. But we should never lose sight of the fact that one tool is never appropriate for every job.”

On the penetration of mobile

Tom Grinsted, the Guardian:

“What some call ‘mobile first’ is in truth already ‘mobile majority’.

“…being mobile-friendly, having content that is quick, usable, graceful and compelling on smartphones is not optional.”

On mobile audiences

James Tetlow, ROH:

“We went straight from [producing mobile functionality for our venue] to [thinking] international, but we skipped that ‘onion skin’ around us. I would definitely encourage anyone doing something like this to think about all the audiences and the different scales of audience.”

On the power of the consumer

Tom Grinsted, the Guardian:

“…any predictions we make now will quickly be outdated. …So, if we can’t predict the future with a high degree of accuracy, what can we do? We can look at trends and recent technical innovations. We can get inside the heads of users who ultimately decide what technology lives or dies.

“We should not forget that it is people who are the final arbiters of consumer-level success—a lesson learned the hard way by the likes of Kodak and Blackberry.”

On the rate of mobile adoption

Tom Grinsted, the Guardian:

“To not be mobile in the digital world is fast becoming simply to not be.”

On the future of mobile-phsyical interaction

Tom Grinsted, the Guardian:

“People will be much more likely to reach for their phones to facilitate physical / digital interactions to enhance or extend experiences through mobile. We see the beginning of this already. I use an app for my boarding pass at the airport and NFC (near-field communication) at London bus stops for travel information.

“In galleries I quickly search for the subject of portraits and take photos in museums to share my emotional response to objects with friends and family.”