Presented by Karen McGrane.

  • Digital Equipment Corporation’s PDP 8E: The world’s first mini-computer.
  • By 1988, DEC was the second largest computer company, behind IBM.
  • Ken Olsen, DEC CEO: “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”

I’m not ashamed of my fetish for mainframes and you shouldn’t be either. Brochures from @computerhistory.

The lie we tell ourselves today: “There is no reason anyone would want to do that on mobile.”

Disruptive Innovation

  • New innovations come along and they don’t perform nearly as well as previous devices (may be less powerful, more expensive) but they create a new market.
  • This happens again and again: floppy disk drives, printing (offset printers to laser printers to inkjet printers), photography (film to digital to mobile).
  • Current disruption is in personal computers: Mobile phones and devices are opening up the Internet to a whole class of people who have never experienced the Internet.
  • Clayton Christensen was way wrong about the iPhone. He saw it as a fancy cell phone.

The Digital Divide

  • 20% of Americans have no Internet access at all.
  • 35% have no Internet access at home. These people may want to have access to the Internet, but may be limited to locked-down networks at work.
  • 29% of Black Americans have no Internet access.
  • 32% of Hispanic Americans have no Internet access.
  • 57% of Americans with no high school diploma have no Internet access.
  • 46% of Americans with a disability have no Internet access.
  • 88% of Americans own a mobile phone.
  • 55% of Americans use their mobile phone to access the Internet. Between 2009 and 2012, mobile Internet use increased from 31%. This coincides with the rise in smartphones and are most frequently purchased by disadvantaged groups (Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans).

The “Mobile Mostly” User

  • 31% of all Americans only or mostly use the Internet on their mobile phones. That amounts to 50 million Americans. How much time have you spent concerning yourself with the 2% of visitors without JavaScript versus this 17% of Americans?
  • 51% of Black Americans only or mostly use the Internet on their mobile phones.
  • Susannah Fox, Pew Research: “Mobile was the final frontier in the access revolution. It has erased the digital divide.”
  • For the 31% of Americans who only access the Internet through a mobile phone, we are reminding them that they are second-class citizens.
  • Health Care Providers are hurting those that need information the most by not providing a usable mobile experience.

Digital Government

Americans deserve a government that works for them anytime, anywhere, and on any device. The following is a rundown of planks from the government’s Building A 21st Century Platform To Better Serve The American People initiative.

Research & Planning

The government’s plan:

  • Within three months, engage with customers to identify the highest priority services to optimize for mobile.
  • Within one year, make two key services available on mobile.
  • When practical, publish a plan for improving additional existing services as practical.

That last bullet is incredibly risky and a recipe for crappy mobile sites that do two things then kick users over to a desktop experience. It ignores a long-term plan. “You have to know the endstate you want” (Gerard Gober, Comcast).

Adaptive Content

Adaptive content is flexible, so it can adapt to different screen sizes, and can be presented in different formats as appropriate for the device.

  • 43% of federal agencies do not use a CMS to publish online content.
  • Tumblr’s publishing information guides you to create chunks of content. This stands in contrast to Wordpress’ lack of a structured experience. This approach provides much greater flexibility when presenting structured content on the front end.
  • Create presentation-independent content. When you are thinking about creating your content, you are not imagining that it will live on one and only one platform.
  • Treat content as a service. The government should be figuring out how to make its information available. Think how the government’s release of GPS and weather data has fueled billion-dollar industries.
  • NPR’s Open Content and APIs system is a wonderful example of how structured content and APIs can make publishing across a large variety of platforms work.

Writing & Editing

There is no such thing as writing for mobile; there is just good writing.

  • Mobile is a catalyst for getting organizations to re-imagine their content and clean it up.
  • Great content transcends platform.
  • David Balcom, American Cancer Society: “We felt it was a life-saving imperitive to have all of our content on mobile.”
  • Even if you don’t have a mobile site or strategy, writing and editing your website’s content now will help prepare you for that day.

Mobile Governance

  • You cannot have a mobile team that is separate from your desktop team. That will only create divisions that will be reflected in your mobile and desktop offerings.
  • Disruptive technologies eventually do good or they redefine what good is. The benefit of the transistor radio was its portability. That made it worth the trade-off in sound quality compared to large home radios.
  • Do mobile right and do it right from the start.

I want us to ask ourselves every day, how are we using technology to make a real difference in people’s lives?

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