Web 2.0 was first coined by a web design consultant named Darcy DiNucci in 1999. She was the first to predict the shift from purely static webpages to user-generated pages on the Internet. The term was shelved until around 2003 when O’Reilly Media and Media Live hosted an informational conference titled “Web 2.0” for entrepreneurs, technology reporters and large companies. Nine years later we have user-generated social media websites like Wikipedia, Facebook, and YouTube accounting for 3 of the 7 biggest global online brands.
By 2014, 90% of the world is predicted to own a mobile device capable of accessing the Internet. Mobile devices are exploding in popularity, and, in turn, are laying the foundation for the new Web 3.0. Searching for information on a mobile device currently can be frustrating due to small screen sizes and broad search results. The “new” version of the Internet will feature improved search engines that are much more organized and defined. Long-term search queries will become a thing of the norm, and searching on your mobile phone won’t be nearly as cumbersome.
Web 3.0 will restructure the Internet into one massive database of information. Currently being referred to as the “semantic web,” computers will finally be able to read text much like humans do. They will begin to understand the meaning of sentences, and thus, will be able to build much more accurate databases than we have now. They will also be capable of handling the same requests that humans are asked to handle now. Text-Message Information Services that find answers for customers who text in questions via text-message, like ChaCha® and KGB®, will become obsolete if everything goes to plan.
So how does all of this tie into the need to create a mobile website? Simple, the more defined and accurate our searches become the less screen size we will need to access and retrieve information on the Internet.
Just because mobile Internet access is expected to increase doesn’t mean that people will want to walk around with mobile devices so big they can’t fit them in their pockets, nor will they want to zoom in and out to find the information that they want. Information needs to load fast and it needs to be formatted in a way that is easy to read. Studies show that over 25% of visitors to a mobile website will leave if it takes longer than 4 seconds to load. That’s going to be virtually impossible without a mobile optimized website.
Aside from preparing for Web 3.0, mobile websites are just a good idea in general. In 2010, 43.5 million people checked their e-mail through their mobile phones. If your customers open your eNewsletter on their mobile phones, will they even be able to open the websites that you’re linking to within it?