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6 mobile web trends to watch for in 2015 from DeviceAtlas’s experts

The world of mobile devices spurs innovation every year, sometimes dramatically changing the entire landscape. While it's certainly not easy to guess what the future holds, in this article the DeviceAtlas team has a go at predicting the latest trends that might shape mobile web in 2015.

With the number of mobile subscribers approaching the number of people on Earth, mobile is not just another marketing channel. It may already be the most important channel in existence. Tracking the latest trends in the mobile is vital for businesses to make the right decisions on their online strategy.

Here are some mobile web design trends to watch for in 2015 as through the eyes of our market experts here at DeviceAtlas.

1. In 2015, responsive will be the de facto way to design for the web, but its limitations will be recognized (and addressed)

With Google announcing that it rewards responsive websites with a “mobile-friendly” tag in search results, Responsive Web Design will certainly be considered the de facto way to design websites in 2015. Nonetheless, RWD has its limitations which, according to DeviceAtlas’s experts, will be much more visible in 2015.

Ronan Cremin, CTO: RWD is firmly established as a popular approach for many businesses. But with RWD becoming more mainstream, the debate is getting a little bit less religious and more nuanced.

People are beginning to accept that RWD is not perfect and that more can be done. The arrival of more wearables and smart TVs in 2015 will drive the discussion further. Will an RWD website be a good experience on your wristwatch and your TV? It's hard to cater for all devices appropriately with RWD.

2. Web developers will be addressing mobile website performance and page weight issues

The adoption of fixed-line fibre broadband allowed web developers to focus more on websites’ looks and UX, rather than the page weight. But for devices relying on mobile internet connectivity the available bandwidth may still be an issue even in developed markets.

Ruadhan O’Donoghue, Editor/Lead Developer, mobiForge: With M-commerce taking up a progressively bigger chunk of the online retail space, mobile websites' performance is more crucial than ever, given that users expect pages to load on mobile devices as fast as they load on desktop. But the reality is often different.

In 2015 the speed and performance concerns will be an important factor in the decision of the majority of retail’s big-hitters to vigorously optimise their sites for mobile. Not adapting to bandwidth-challenged customers might well be a market limiting decision.

3. Mobile-first approach becoming mainstream

You may have noticed that mobile web usage is growing rapidly. Our observations, such as Ronan Cremin’s discoveries in China, show similar findings. People access websites on their mobile devices from every corner of the globe.

Working on the premise that the mobile web is going mainstream, some businesses decide to start the design process by first addressing mobile users and then scaling the design up to fit desktop browsers.

Dubbed mobile-first, this somewhat niche approach has been around for quite a while. But in 2015 mobile-first will become much more mainstream, according to DeviceAtlas’s experts.

Ruadhan O’Donoghue: To not consider mobile right from the beginning of any digital strategy is folly. We've already seen in many markets mobile web overtaking desktop. It doesn't make sense to ignore this trend.

4. Server-side device detection becoming more acceptable

Coming up with a top-notch mobile experience requires a device detection solution to ensure that the right content is sent to the right device at the right time. Server-side device detection is actually the quickest and the most accurate way to redirect visitors according to their devices. Our experts predict that server-side device detection will be more acceptable in 2015.

Martin Clancy, Head of Marketing: A combination of client- and server-side components can give web creators the best of both worlds, in that that it allows developers to combine RWD with accurate device detection. This is a tehnique called RESS. Utilizing RESS you can maintain the flexibility of responsiveness by adding optimization for different devices into the mix.

5. 2015 will be the year of ‘app fatigue’

Although it is beyond question that today every business must address a mobile audience, there is ongoing debate on how to do it properly. According to DeviceAtlas’s experts businesses should optimize their mobile websites, before investing in native mobile apps. 2015 might be the year of ‘mobile app fatigue.’

Gosia Sodel, Senior Data Analyst: Web apps are becoming more and more sophisticated and they can be as functional as native apps in most cases. Many popular native apps use almost pure online content just fitted into some 'app framework' (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, G+). However one of the main reasons for publishers to focus on native apps may be the wider possibility of collecting user data, and that trend probably won't die quickly.

6. Device Intelligence and Big Data

Large organizations' hunger for more insights from their customer data is gathering pace. There are many examples of how device intelligence can be used to analyze behaviour and inform strategy.

Martin Clancy: As the sheer range and diversity of devices we use today continues to mushroom, we are talking with a lot of players in the Telecoms space who want to surface device intelligence in the context of ‘big data’.

There are many potential applications, from providing insights on device usage to make more compelling offers to customers, to things like planning network infrastructure roll-out. You might call it the intersection of device intelligence and Big Data.

Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns