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December 16, 2009

Are you ready for mobile content?

A report from Morgan Stanley states that mobile Internet use will be twice that of desktop Internet and that the iPhone/smartphone “may prove to be the fastest ramping and most disruptive technology product / service launch the world has ever seen.” That “disruption” is already affecting the methods for distributing technical content.

With users having Internet access at their fingertips anywhere they go, Internet searches will continue to drive how people find product information. Desktop Internet use has greatly reshaped how technical communicators distribute information, and having twice as many people using mobile Internet will only push us toward more online delivery—and in formats (some yet to be developed, I’d guess) that are compatible with smaller smartphone screens.

The growing number of people with mobile Internet access underscores the importance of high Internet search rankings and a social media strategy for your information. If you haven’t already investigated optimizing your content for search engines and integrating social media as part of your development and distribution efforts, it’s probably wise to do that sooner rather than later. Also, have you looked at how your web site is displayed on a smartphone?

If you don’t consider the impact of the mobile Internet, your documentation may be relegated to the Island of Misfit Manuals, where change pages and manuals in three-ring binders spend their days yellowing away.