Very interesting point of view from Nick Jones, member of the Gartner Blog Network about how we are not focusing on the critial elements of our effective comunication channels. Today, it’s really easy to think large screens mobile devices  are The best solution for any user’s interface but VoiceXML portals and advanced IVR services are a key factor for a smart communication evolution. Are you ready for small to be the new big?


We’re all fashion victims. Mobiles are basically fashion accessories with electronics inside. Technology itself has fashions, at the moment the pendulum has swung towards thin architectures and cloud services for example. But at some point thick clients will return to stride the techno-catwalk again, and we’ll all rediscover how nice it is to have a user interface that isn’t a browser.

Today the mobile industry is going through a ”big is beautiful” phase. The flagship devices like iPhone, TG01, and N97 have large screens, are chunky and heavy, and the manufacturers are trying to convince me that to be street credible I have to be seen carrying a barely pocketable PC clone. I guess to be politically correct I ought to avoid the term “chunky” and politely call them “plus sized” devices. Does that mean I have to call some of the new MIDs “double plus sized” devices I wonder?

However, the techno-fashion pendulum will swing as it always does. So the question I have for you is this: what will you do when small becomes the new big? When Apple creates the iPhone “shuffle” for example. Or maybe LG announces an even smaller V2 wristwatch phone. Many of my clients have spent a lot of time and money mobilising their web sites and developing applications aimed at devices such as iPhone in the belief that we’ll all be carrying big screens in our pockets. But the assumption that customers will be carrying a big screen, or even any form of screen isn’t something you (or they) should rely on. It’s time to start thinking about how you’ll do mobile banking, mobile commerce or whatever else you’re planning to do, on a device with a screen the size of a large postage stamp. Admittedly a high resolution postage stamp.

For example do you have a VoiceXML and IVR strategy? You’ll probably need one. And if you’re like AccuWeather or AP who developed widgets to sit on large home screens, have you wondered what you’ll do on devices that have a tiny home screen, or maybe no spare screen real estate at all? The answers to these sorts of questions will imply a major re-think of mobile application architecture and interaction; perhaps a move to proactive contextual notification for example. Or maybe it’s time to learn from devices like the Ambient Orb which shows how far you can go with what’s effectively a single pixel display. This would also be a good time to hire a few outstanding mobile UI designers just so you’re ready to make the best possible use of every microscopic pixel on tomorrow’s tiny devices.