At the 2011 CES conference (a bellwether of what is to come in technology), the top 5 devices being showcased are (1) Tablets, (2) Smartphones, (3) 3-D games and internet connected TV’s, (4) “Connected Appliances”, and (5) video games. Notice that none of these items have traditional “Browsers” associated with them.
In the early 2000’s until approximately 2008 – we had to worry only about a few browser standards and, in complex cases, integrated technological backend solutions. The cost of the most expensive portion of the site was the functionality that was incorporated (or simply the tech portion of the site), and the flash part of the site. On the creative side, the complexities came with understanding the differences between just a few browsers as well as the versions of those browsers. Quality Assurance (Q/A) efforts and budgets were placed on the steps visitors would take to perform a specific task.
Today, our customers are not looking at visitors to their site, but rather as visitors to their brand as represented through digital. Those that brands interact with online (we can’t even say visitors to your site anymore!) look at material via their smart phone, iPad, gaming system, and various other mediums that must be considered when designing a site (err… an experience).
The browser is disappearing – and your customers must still be able to access your digital assets. “Which version of i.e., Safari, or Chrome?”, “CS5 or Flash or Both?”, “How does our site perform on the iPad, Android, iPhone, etc.?”, just scratch the surface of the questions to be asked. Now Q/A and Technology is moving to the forefront of design, user experience, and strategy.
As if the myriad of technical and design issues are not enough, organizations are faced with another question: “Should we go full service agency or leverage specialized firms in certain areas?”. If an organization is only concerned about one specific component of of their digital marketing – than a focused group is probably your best bet. However, this is rarely the case as each effort impacts the other. It is rare that a social marketing campaign will not require a landing page on a site that is optimized for the considerations of how users interact with social marketing engagement. The DNA of a full service digital agency usually includes experts in social marketing, mobile, digital design, user experience, analytics, Q/A, and technology at a minimum. These are not silo’d teams – but rather integrated departments held together by client service representatives that are experts in the process.
There have been many iterations of online development that your marketing and technology department have had to adjust to, from standard websites, to interactive sites (Web 2.0), to social and mobile. This iteration seems to be one of the most impactful as there is no longer a standard browser. So how does your site look on a Toaster?