Monday, November 07, 2005

Mobile Users Vs. Internet Users

I read with a very big smile an article about Mobile Phone Data Useability sucks from Evan/Rabble over at Odeo. I know that I had at least one conversation with him about our approach to consumers and I think it is valuable to repeat it here. There are consumers who use their phone as their primary interface for communications. When I say communications I mean not just voice. These are people who use SMS the way I use Instant Messenger. These users are the earliest adopters of this sort of technology, and like all the good pioneers before them, they have managed to find ways to work around the limitations of the first or second instance of a platform.

When you think about mobile data, we are in the very very early stages. Phones are still being broadly manufactured to allow people to use the voice facility to speak with each other, not to surf the web or find their friends or other things that most people would use a computer for. Over time the usability will improve as more and more mainstream consumers start using those kinds of technologies.

When I look at what we are doing with rabble, we are focused on making the experience as strong as possible for users of this still early platform. To that end we have spent out time and resources focusing on the part that matters to people who use the phone as a primary device. What we haven't done has rolled out a website for our users. Our experience in the past has shown us that most people who are mobile data focused, don't necessarily want to mix that experience with the web. For those consumers who want to mix and match we have integrated Rabble with sites like Blogger and Live Journal because quite frankly, they do really good job for those of our users who use those tools.

We do plan on rolling out our website in the next couple of weeks. I'll be sure to post about that, but I am fairly certain that when our site goes live it will be a bit of a yawn for a bunch of our users. In the meantime I'd encourage you to check out the Rabble site where we are profiling some of our current users and their posts. It's good for some laughs.

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