A recent report from research firm IDC states that shipments of mobile devices (tablets and smaller) will overtake PC shipments within 18 months. While many are speculating the end of the PC era, I see a more important shift in the making. As mobile devices come to dominate, the small form-factor of screen and input will alter how information is presented and manipulated.
Our current design model assumes a reader is sitting at a computer screen. They can see large swaths of screen. They are click-averse; most prefer to read, view, or listen with minimal interaction. However, they are very prone to multi-tasking. Most users leave many windows open and switch to other tasks at will.
How will a smart phone or tablet change this model? Are web designers preparing for this bifurcation of presentation fast enough? Eventually, the mobile experience will come to dominate information presentation, and advertising.
Entertainment is also splitting out of the standard PC interface, in a different direction. How are mixed content sites handling that change?
Reading this article made me think about my own skill sets. I don't have a home entertainment system, though I have finally begun to experiment with them. I don't have a smart phone or tablet. Am I missing the boat? I don't have enough experience with these interfaces to sense the future. That bothers me more than not having the latest and greatest gadget.