The mobile engagement gap – Android vs iPhone

The great Luke Wroblewski posted an interesting collection of statistics detailing some key differences in engagement between Android and iPhone users. This is a followup to a piece he posted last year.

Luke provides several data points that all boil down to one thing: iOS users are far more likely to do the following on their phones:

  • Browse the web
  • Shop online
  • Click on ads
  • Pay for apps

Why this is remains a mystery. There were some theories about the older Android OS and it’s poor UX, but even as newer versions of Android have come to dominate the market, the engagement gap continues.

Perhaps at a later date we can dig into the root causes of this. For now for those of us in the web and app business, the key takeaway is clear. In a world where there is never enough time or resources to do everything you want, you should prioritize iOS work over Android work.

  • If you’re building an app, build for iOS first then build your android version.
  • If you’re QAing a web site, QA for iOS first, then for Android.
  • If you’re optimizing for search, optimize for iOS users, not Android.

Sure, if you have Facebook or Netflix money, you can build apps for every platform. But for the rest of us, when choosing where to allocate our resources, we should always remember that the iOS users are the ones that will actually make you money.

Providence Drupal Meetup January 2014 – Drupal Commerce

Happy New Year!

I wanted to just drop in a quick plug for the Providence Drupal Meetup. I’ve gone to a few of their events in the past and I always find them more informative than the standard tech-networking type of meetup. The upcoming meeting on Drupal Commerce looks to be another great event.

I hope to see some of you there!

Also, as a quick plug, my company is looking to bring on another back-end Drupal programmer. If you like writing Drupal modules and working with awesome people, please check out the Software Engineer – Drupal job listing.

 

Blogging about blogging

I still remember when Dave Winer of Userland Software started talking in the late 90s about this groundbreaking new thing called a “weblog”.

I’ll be honest. At the time I didn’t entirely get the point. there were already personal websites, online zines, and online journals. At the time I had all three of those. But “weblogs”, Dave and others insisted, were different.

Fast forward a few years. Personal websites and online zines had largely disappeared. Online journals had largely merged with weblogs and were mainly a way for people to share their lives and passions with friends. There were blogs about movies, blogs about food, tons of blogs about technology and web development, and blogs just about day-to-day life.

Bloggers at this point tended to be more technically literate, having at least the basic skills to write HTML and operate an FTP program. Bloggers also tended to either be aspiring writers or folks with an overriding passion for a specific subject – especially if that subject was not represented in the mainstream media. Bloggers formed small communities of sorts, using blogs to connect with each other and perpetuate a discussion, much as print zines had a decade earlier.

Between those salad days of blogging and today, a few things have changed:

  1. The growth of blogging tools like WordPress, Blogger, etc made it easier for anyone to blog, lowered the barrier of entry.
  2. The emergence of advertising networks like Google Adwords made it possible to monetize blogging in a way that wasn’t doable ten years ago.
  3. The discovery of “blogging” by the media and communications industry around the 2004 election, largely with credit given to the liberal blogosphere for Howard Dean’s rise in the Democratic primaries
  4. The displacement of earlier online communities by newer social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit.

As a result, the amateur writers looking to share their passion and connect with people have largely moved on to Facebook and Twitter. Blogging became a platform for those looking to make money or promote a brand.

Now, I have no doubt that this is a generalization and that there are still some folks blogging just for the love of writing. But I also know that for the past half-dozen years or so whenever someone’s asked me to help them set up a blog – whether it’s been a client or a friend-of-a-friend who “heard I build websites” – it’s never been because they just had stuff they wanted to say. It’s always been either because they heard you could make money at it, or as a marketing exercise for their organization (with a good chunk of that coming from communications people who heard “blogs are good for SEO”).

I won’t pretend this doesn’t make me a little sad. Certainly, we need commerce to pay our bills, but surely there must be room for people to write what they care about, not just to write linkbait and promotional copy.

Therefore, this long-winded meandering marks the beginning of my return to the world of blogging. I intend to mostly blog about technology and culture, with a little about business and communications strategy. I’ve spent the majority of the last decade and a half building websites in one form or another – as a hobbyist, as a developer, as a project manager, and as a business owner. This is a constantly evolving industry, and there are important conversations going on around every aspect of it.

This blog will be my attempt to participate in those conversations.

It will be a little different than the blogging I did a decade ago, which itself was different than the zine I published a decade before that. I’m a 40 year old project manager now, not a 30 year old political activist or a 20 year old punk rocker. But as much as I have changed, two things have remained constant in my life – my love of building things on the web, and my need to express my thoughts in writing.

It’s a strange world out there in the blogosphere these days. But I gotta say, it’s good to be back.