The Difference Between Mobile and Mobility: Why You Need to Know It’s Not the Same Thing

Creative Technology Partners, mobile, mobility, technology, experience, Uber, customer, journey, infrastructure, context, SMS, Africa on

One provides infrastructure, and the other creates experience

They share the first five letters. One’s an adjective. The other is a noun. They sound alike, but they’ve come to mean different things. And if you mistake one for the other, you’ll miss the coming wave of opportunity.

What’s the difference? Mobile is about technology. Mobility is about experience. There’s more to it than a definition. Here’s what you need to know, and why:

The one you want

Mobility trumps mobile. One runs the other. It’s like hardware and software. Mobile is linked to the device you put in your pocket, whereas mobility is what can be accomplished with the device. The context changes with our cultures.

In the United States, it’s how we keep up with our friends and family on Facebook and Instagram. Throughout Africa, SMS technology is how people pay their bills. The majority of individuals have no use for a bank.

Mobile itself is the infrastructure. Mobility is what weaves a context and makes the technology useful.

Mobility takes us where we need to go next

Your mobile device is just a device. Little of it is geared to give you an experience, and experience is what we demand. Mobility gives us access to connectivity. For example, we’re no longer impressed if a brand has finally launched a mobile website so we can use it on our smartphone.

Today we expect the brands that impress us to adopt a “mobile-first” mindset. This pushes them to transition from device to experience. The companies that understand this have repositioned their relationship with customers. They don’t ask themselves, “What content can we serve to a mobile device?” They instead ask, “How can we provide an experience that communicates our brand and value proposition?”

The result is the experience of seeing something you like, purchasing it with the merchant’s app, paying for it with a bank’s network, and scheduling it for delivery. All with a couple of taps on a mobile device. And afterwards, updating your social networks about what you just snagged.

A customer journey

Companies used to think only about what to serve up on a screen based on its size. Our mobile devices allow us to consume content in different places. Our expectation of that content changes depending on where we are, and even what we consume changes with our context.

If you’re still just taking your online content and optimizing it for mobile devices, you’re still looking at things from a device perspective. Mobility requires you to look at what you serve up on the screen from an experience perspective.

Does mobile make sense?

The answer is no, if you’re struggling to come up with content for mobile devices because you believe you have to, rather than because it fits your business model.

If you agree that mobility is about experience, does your company provide a product or service that can take advantage of it? The lack of a confident answer means it’s wise to pause. It’s never a good idea to place tactics before strategy.

Consider the resources you’ll squander as you scramble to create something mobile because everybody else is doing it. Wouldn’t it be a better investment to study whether your customers even want it? And the likelihood is high that they won’t want it unless it grabs technology, integrates previously unrelated actions, and serves up an unexpected experience on a portable device. Your customers don’t want mobile content. They crave the experience of mobility.

Still not clear? Consider the mobility experience Uber has created for people who use devices on the go. You’d be hard pressed to find an example more fitting to define the difference between mobile and mobility.

It’s easy to see that some whole industries still have little need to adopt this mindset. They have no ability, or no reason, to get out and become an experience for their customers using a mobile device.

At least not presently. But technology changes things. Determine whether mobility can bring the experience of your product or service to customers. Now you have a strategy for using technology (mobile) that’s based on the understanding of experience (mobility).

To find out more about how to optimize your online presence, including how to take advantage of the opportunities presented by crafting a valuable, effective user experience, contact the online strategy and design experts at Creative Technology Partners.

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