Joined-up thinking

Joined-up thinkingHow often are you frustrated by the incompatibility of IT systems? It feels like I’m being thwarted at least 5 times a day…this website no longer works on Internet Explorer 7 (along with just about every other social media site out there just now). In order to write this post in work, I’m having to proxy on to a server 50 miles away! At home I use a tablet for most of my browsing and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve given up on a site that wouldn’t work properly on my Dolphin browser – either by making it crash or through incompatible form fields. Mobile phone browsing is equally frustrating, often having to choose between a compromised mobile version with less functionality and squinting at tiny text on the full version of the site to get where I want to go.

Most people aren’t interested in the difficulties of making information compatible across different platforms – they just expect to be able to access it. Although your Google Analytics might show that 70% of your users use an up-to-date version of IE or Firefox on a desktop PC, you ignore that remaining 30% at your peril. As the world gets more connected, users need to be able to access the web – regardless of whether they’re using a state-of-the-art workstation, an iPad Mini or a games console!

We’ve been in talks over revamping our site design over the last few weeks and the design company told me they now build each website assuming the majority of users will be using tablet devices – not because this is the case just now, but because that’s how things are predicted to pan out in the future. If that means saying goodbye to mouse rollover effects, Flash animations and larger screen sizes then so be it – it will be a price worth paying for interoperability and your users will thank you for it.