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.mobi – what’s your opinion?

September 18, 2006

I posted this response to a discussion on .mobi domains on The University of Oxford’s Next Generation Mobile Applications Panel forums today and wanted to use the opportunity to extend an invite to readers of this Blog to come over and join Forum Oxford and join in on this and many other discussions on everything mobile.

.mobi domains

I’m split either side on this debate, but I believe the overriding issue is the user experience. One question that needs to be addressed is, will .mobi domains help users or confuse them further with accessing the Internet via mobile devices.

People are frustrated/confused at having to remember many different ways to access a mobile version of a website. But why? This doesn’t happen in the PC world for the major web browsers as it is one URL for all browsers as far as people are concerned (NB: Remember that URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator or should this be Google now? 🙂 ).

We are still in the the early stages of people accessing the Internet with mobile devices. Until this activity becomes mainstream for companies (Sorry I meant to say "show me the money") people will be flailing about with poor usability issues such as pulling down full websites that don’t view properly in mobiles, getting lost with broken navigation and having to pay for all of this too.

Will .mobi open the flood gates to mobile users accessing the Internet? This will completely depend on the content accessed via the .mobi domains. What good are .mobi domains when companies only put on restricted services and content due to the low traffic?

A debilitating aspect of the mobile realm that is strikingly different to the PC one is that customers on mobile are billed for use. Bill shock is still an issue that must be resolved through simpler billing plans involving data costs.

I really hope that companies back ANY initiative to make it easier for people to access the Internet, no matter what form this takes. If people do not have a positive experience with accessing the Internet via mobile devices then no one wins.

On an aside note, does anyone else see the irony of a mobile domain name being longer than the standard domains? Whoever invented this doesn’t use text entry on mobile devices – it should have been .m ! 🙂 

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