10 Years of the iPhone

It has been 10 years since the mobile revolution truly hit the web. Granted many platforms had been able to view websites before the iPhone. But usability and widespread use brought the mobile web to the forefront. Let us examine the biggest changes the iPhone brought to your digital ministries.

Mobile Web

As I said, mobile devices were able to browse the web in some capacity since 1994. Yet few did it as well as the iPhone. Many sites were not optimized for mobile viewing. But Safari’s ability to “pinch and zoom” made it easier than ever to get around that. For the past 10 years, websites across the spectrum have been trying to keep up.

Responsive Design

This is one of the solutions to the mobile web revolution. It means serving up the same content, but with a different layout. That layout is often a narrow column, which is easiest for browsing on a phone. The notion was to keep the content the same. But serve a different experience for each type of device. Here is one article I wrote on responsive design.

Adaptive Design

This is a spin-off of the responsive design movement. Sometimes it does not make sense to serve the same content to different devices. This means some functionality makes more sense on a desktop than a phone. So for specific features, you provide a customized experience for the device you are on. This was also discussed in greater detail in another article.

Applications

Mobile applications became quite the fad for a while. Many churches wanted an app even before they knew what it could do. Yet there have been many great advances here. The biggest is likely the YouVersion Bible app. It has posted phenomenal statistics about getting God’s word into people’s hands. A close second would be all the new tithing systems. They allow people to donate at a moment’s notice. Which has allowed many ministries around the globe to continue to flourish. Regardless of how your church has benefited from apps, learn to embrace them.

Social Media

The prevalence of social media greatly increased with mobile apps. Gone are the days of texting your update to Twitter. You can post what you doing as you are doing it. You are able to associate locations with your posts. Plus with a camera in your hand, attaching images became easier. Not to mention regular notifications of different interactions. Even when we are out with friends, we can interact and share our moments. That brings me to the next point about our phones…

… And In Your Pocket

The biggest revolution of all was that all these benefits are in your pocket. Having all this always at our fingertips changed many things. We pay for goods, display concert tickets, record our life, manage our finances, and so much more on our phones. With Google at your disposal, you can even win a game of Trivial Pursuit with ease.

Despite how you may feel about the increase of screen time; smartphones are here to stay. Their role will continue to grow as we move into wearable technology. And don’t even get started on augmented reality!

Action Item

First, I bet you need to sit back in awe at how fast the past 10 years have flown by. These advances in technology have only increased in their frequency. This is why your church needs to do all it can to remain relevant. Start with the basics of a mobile-friendly website. Then add one or two well-maintained social media accounts. Use customer interviews and analytics to determine what tools are performing best. Then do what we were commanded; spread the Gospel to all peoples, nations, … and digital spaces.

Author: Stephen Morrissey

I have been making websites since 1996, and using social media since 2006. My current profession is designing user experiences for corporate software, websites, and mobile applications. I started sharing my knowledge with the world in 2011, about a year after a revival in my faith.

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