The Mobile Paradox

I recently read a great article in Quirks about the four stages of mobile readiness. There is a lot of talk about compatibility and layout of the survey since it obviously would be incredibly difficult for me to answer a grid question with  a 10-point scale on my iPhone. But I think what was more important, and nice to see mentioned, is the idea that the content of the survey itself may have to change. A grid question might be something your client has used in all their past surveys, and they are concerned about maintaining their norms database. If that is the case, you may ask yourself what is more important to me? The norms, or delivering this survey on a mobile device? I’m sure there are situations in which either one of these could be the correct answer.

I think also interesting to point out is that we have to be considerate of mobile technology’s limitations. Computing was on a trajectory of getting more complex, with multimedia and interactive experiences being delivered at higher and higher speeds. However, on a mobile device, you are limited by compatibility (think about all those flash-based tools that you can’t use) and connectivity (will your respondent always have a strong, fast connection?). In other words, as we get more advanced on mobile, we may actually be forced to simplify our surveys in order to ensure delivery. While at first that strikes me as quite the paradox, having to simplify things to keep up with advancing technology, it really is following the trend. These days people want simple. I can’t really change much about my iPhone, but that is precisely why I like it (I’m sure my Android users out there are scoffing). Everyone is moving toward simplicity; fewer bells and whistles in favor of functionality and ease of use. Do you think it is time for online MR to take the same path?