Online education portals like Udacity and Coursera are really changing the world of remote learning in significant ways. By making free and high quality education accessible to a global audience, these platforms are opening up undreamt of possibilities for communities around the world to improve, grow, and prosper in the digital economy of the 21st century. Education at top tier colleges and universities has traditionally been a social and economic privilege, but now anyone can join in the learning revolution by sitting in virtual classrooms with the world’s best and brightest educators. Whether this involves learning how to code and build smart phone apps, or starting up a new business, or learning about public health literacy, the sky is the limit of what’s now possible.

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Is your business leveraging the mobile web? – part 2

In our opening segment on this series we came away with the message that mobile is so prevalent today that we really must shift our paradigm. No longer must we ask ourselves, “How does mobile fit into my business strategy?” No, that’s the wrong approach. Instead, we have to ask, “Is mobile intrinsic my business strategy, and if not then why not?”

The typical business approach to the massive growth in mobile has been responsive web design. This is an approach to web design, which applies code breaks so web pages can render across a wide range of devices. The aim of responsive web design or RWD is to provide users with the ability to readily read and navigate web content with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling.


Responsive web should be seen as a quick fix for addressing the diversity of form factors out on the market. But it’s not a panacea. And as we mentioned last time, responsive web takes as its frame of reference the traditional website. However, we need instead to adopt a mobile frame of reference where we approach mobile on its own terms and as a stand-alone solution.

The business market has been flooded in recent years with questions and debates around mobile strategy development and whether responsive web design is the way to go or if organizations should focus on in-house mobile app development. And then, of course, this gets into the protracted and well-worn debate about whether you should go with Native apps, which are specifically engineered for download to specific mobile platforms (iOS, Android, Windows) or else HTML5, which are located on the web and run across all mobile devices and platforms?


One source has well captured the “development dilemma” that arises for businesses when it comes to adopting mobile strategies:

The development dilemma catches up with just about every website stakeholder, ultimately asking yourself if you should you have your website optimized for mobile viewing, or should you start development into a mobile app? The basic principles, costs, implementation time frame, design approach, user experience, performance, and ongoing maintenance are concerns that need to be addressed before making the final decision.

The mobile “development dilemma” is obviously a real concern to many businesses. Development costs, timelines, design approaches are all part of the equation. However, when it comes to leveraging the mobile web and thinking about business strategies, we have to separate the forest from the trees. And in order to do that we have to ask ourselves a few underlying questions. What is it we want our customers to take away when they visit our site? Do we want to give them an excellent web experience or a mediocre one? How fast do we expect them to wait for the content we deliver to be rendered on their mobile device? How long would we be willing to wait?

In our opening segment we touched on some important mobile stats from about the rapid growth of mobile. Another stat worth mentioning here is that 74% of consumers will wait 5 seconds for web page to load on their mobile device before abandoning the site. In other words, when it comes right down to it, your organization has 5 precious seconds to make or break a deal. And so another critical question you have to ask is this: “Is a 5 second window of time worth risking your business revenue for?” Obviously not!


To provide the best experience for your consumers, it will be critical to adopt a mobile centric development approach. While we can’t advocate exactly what that means for your particular business, based on your budget, there are underlying principles you’ll need to consider going forward. Here are the main takeaways from this segment:

* Responsive web design is NOT a long-term solution, but a temporary one.

* Don’t get bogged down in the “development dilemma” involving questions about Native vs. HTML5.

* Shift your business perspective to a mobile focused one; assume a future in which the majority of your visitors and customers will be using mobile devices.

* In terms of your mobile development budget and time constraints, do whatever it takes to develop mobile pages that please your customer.

* Ensure that your customers get their content delivered as quickly as possible.

 To be continued . . .

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About Jeffrey Walker

Jeff is a business development consultant who specializes in helping businesses grow through technology innovations and solutions. He holds multiple master’s degrees from institutions such as Andrews University and Columbia University, and leverages this background towards empowering people in today’s digital world. He currently works as a research specialist for a Fortune 100 firm in Boston. When not writing on the latest technology trends, Jeff runs a robotics startup called, along with oversight and leadership of - an emerging market assistance company that helps businesses grow through innovation.