In spite of dropping every other call and not being able to hold a single long conversation on my iPhone 3G, not only did I decide to stick with it, but I went ahead and got an iPhone 4. So what is it that makes me stick to a device which does not let me perform the single basic operation that a mobile device is intended for – make a phone call….well not any more! Time has changed and so has user expectation with it. The first thing I did after getting my phone was not a phone call, but I went to Facebook and updated my status. Today it’s all about CONTENT, being able to access it QUICKLY wherever you are and whenever you want…and iPhone does that well.
The next thing I did with my new phone was to go to New York Times website – wow, it was fast and I was a happy user. However, that was definitely not case until I had the old phone. This difference in experience made me perform a simple test using Keynote Mobile Internet Testing Environment (MITE) and compare the New York Times website on 4 popular devices. To my surprise all the 4 devices got different pages and downloaded different amount of data. What was astonishing was not that the pages were different, but the huge variation in bytes downloaded.
The iPhone 3G downloaded a full HTML version of the website with more images and ads. The downloaded page had 149 different objects. On the other hand, the BlackBerry Storm 2 downloaded a much simpler version of the site that had only 17 elements. Both presented different user experiences visually and in performance. There is no right solution, but with MITE I was able to quickly analyze the differences by seeing the screen shots on different devices and getting page level details such as byte size, download time, object count, etc.
If I am a content provider, I would love to get this level of detail for my website. Since my users could be coming from any device, I will need to understand how my site downloads and performs on different devices. This will help me improve the end users experience at least on popular devices, if not all of them. Optimizing it for one device is just not good enough!!!
P.S. Keynote MITE is currently in Beta. If interested, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org.