The huge potential of multi device usage is still something that we’re getting to grips with. While it may often seem that being able to complete tasks on multiple devices is a good thing, there are still a number of aspects and processes that need refining in order to truly reap the benefits that are on offer. It’s estimated that in the UK, we switch devices about 21 times per hour. In the early days of mobile technology, Palm Pilots meant that there was one standard device for sending and receiving information. Nowadays, there is not only a huge range of devices, but also software types and standards that have made this process much more complicated.
While the range of devices has increased, we are becoming much better at synching between these devices (Apple devices provide a good snapshot of how to create a fairly seamless syncing experience across a range of devices). However, there are still many challenges. People need to remain focussed when it comes to design, and it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of obsessing over screen design. If it isn’t people friendly, ultimately a design won’t work. Security is another challenge. As the range and variation in devices and software increases, so do the loopholes that allow hacking. Creating unified and secure networks is a priority.
There are of course many more challenges. How do we balance the reliance we have on digital technology with real world interaction? Questions like these are crucial to any design agency, but the good news is that the technology is there — we are only limited by our imagination in solving these problems.
Acknowledging the extent of multi-device usage is the first step. For example, any savvy web agency will make sure that their content is accessible and comfortably usable on tablets, smartphones and desktop computers. By simply acknowledging our reliance on multi-device usage, we are halfway there. Ultimately, the opportunities provided by this technology are only limited by our approach.