Last week Jason Grigsby visited Google as part of our Web Exponents speaker series which highlights innovations in web technology. Jason is a tech leader in mobile web development. In addition to spotting trends in the mobile space, Jason is at the front lines building mobile apps at Cloud Four. His humorous and informative talk includes technology recommendations and insightful examples from the world of mobile. Check out the video of the talk below. You can also download the slides.

Jason’s mobile strategy counterexamples include Chanel (they have an iPhone app but their website is unusable on the iPhone) and the difficulties of finding an Apple Store on the iPhone. His DOs and DON’Ts are:

DOs:

  1. Know your customers and what devices they use.
  2. Look beyond native apps to mobile web, SMS & MMS.
  3. Apps for your most loyal customers add value.
  4. Consistent experience across devices and offline.
  5. Understand mobile context.

DON’Ts:

  1. Don’t assume customers have downloaded your app.
  2. Don’t rely on Flash.
  3. Don’t make finding store locations & hours difficult.
  4. Simple to use does not mean dumb.
  5. Don’t forget that the ‘U’ in URL stands for Universal. (He goes on to point out that it really stands for Uniform.)

These all ring true for anyone with experience building for mobile. The hard part is figuring out the right solution for providing the right experience for desktop as well as diverse mobile devices. Jason gives a glimpse into the key features of a solution:

  • integrated image resizing
  • video conversion and resizing
  • separation of content from markup so content can be used in native apps
  • prioritization of content based on context
  • full-featured APIs

The challenge in my opinion is in the steps of breaking out content from markup and determining which content is appropriate for a given device. We need frameworks that better support these ideas, but there’s still a lot of heavy design work on the developer’s shoulders. Jason points to NPR as an example of a large site that has successfully implemented this architecture. Check out Jason’s talk to find out more, and also check out some of the other videos in the Web Exponents playlist.