The only screen that matters is the screen that is in front of me.
Welcome to the one screen world. We used to talk about three screens (TV, computers and mobile), but we're closing in on the one screen world. Screens are everywhere, they're connected and they're cheap (and getting cheaper... and more pervasive). Screens are no longer fixed destinations. We carry them (smartphone, tablets, etc...) and they're on us (Google Glass, wearable technology and beyond). Our speed and connectivity is only going to increase, and all of this has been validated in what I consider to be the most jaw-dropping stat that I have been exposed to in 2014:
The rise of smart connected devices relegates PC to an accessory for mobile.
How staggering is that? According to the article, IDC: Rise of Smart Connected Devices Relegates PC to an Accessory for Mobile: "Looking further out into the future, IDC expects the number of smart connected devices (SCDs) shipped worldwide each year to grow to 2.4 billion units. Elaborating on IDC's outlook, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker research analyst Jitesh Ubrani stated, 'Apple's iOS-ification of Mac OS, and Microsoft's implementation of Modern UI throughout different form factors are clear indicators that we're living in a mobile-first world... The PC will be the new accessory to mobile as smartphones become the first and primary computing device for many.' With that said, IDC anticipates smartphone shipments will outpace total PC shipments by more than 6 to 1 in 2018."
Get responsive... and get responsive design now.
The burden on marketers is paramount at this point. We live in a world where the vast majority of digital marketing is still being conceived, developed and nurtured for a Web and browser-based consumer, while the data is clear: mobile first. One screen world. It's here. It's now. Yes, shifting all development to responsive design is the practical move, but thinking it through, it's not hard to see just how limiting that might be. If your brand doesn't feel like it's a part of the one screen world, but rather adjusting a frame to fit into it, consumers (who already have expectations) are going to feel let down. Responsive simply means that it will fit and adjust to a screen. Responsive doesn't mean that it will interact and engage in a mobile-first way.
Thinking this through.
How does your brand truly connect in these smart connected devices? Does it feel like a Web browser experience shrunken down to fit a more mobile screen? Does it move and adjust with the consumer's intentions? Have you seen what Amazon's just released Fire Phone can do (not even sure why we're calling these devices "phones" anymore)? If you haven't, you should check out what they're going to do with Dynamic Perspective, Firefly and Mayday. While many will question why Amazon is joining the handset business now, they're quickly demonstrating what digital business looks like in comparison to a regular business. Amazon's phone is the 2014 version of "cradle to the grave" (or owning the customer relationship... or building a profound direct relationship... or having real sex with data). There's an intimacy and connectivity that these mobile devices bring, and they're simply not the same as the Web as we have known it to date.
These are not just smaller screens.