Browser Compatibility and Computer Optimization Vital in New Digital Landscape

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Living through extended periods of lockdown and experiencing the society-wide effects of quarantines and social distancing has hugely impacted our way of life. Recently we reported the manner in which the coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge in internet usage and consequent increased traffic online.

Yet recent studies and reports are beginning to shed light not only on how much more we are using the internet but also the ways in which we are changing our relationship with it – we are beginning to consume services and digital goods in ways that differ from the time before the pandemic. And this shift in online behaviour will have significant ramifications in the tech space moving forwards.

One major change is our balance between mobile phone and computer usage. Recently, the New York Times covered the changing way in which we use the web. Online streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube are seeing dramatic increases in traffic to their websites and corresponding drops to their respective app usage – this makes sense of course, given that many more individuals are spending increased time quarantined or even remotely working at home. Similarly, a shift is seen in our browsing of social media. Traffic to Facebook’s website exploded in the time following the pandemic’s spread in the US again with a corresponding decrease in app usage.

This presents a major challenge to many companies in tech spaces like gaming, shopping, gambling, travel, etc. that offer dedicated apps tailored to phone usage. Such apps will likely see reduced traffic and revenue as their major strength, mobility, is neutralized by more and more people being at home next to their computers. Why bother using a mobile app to browse the rental market if you’re at home and have your laptop at hand? Frequently computer-oriented services will be able to present a greater wealth of features simply by virtue of being on a larger platform. 

Certain companies will experience this effect less acutely, however. Content that is designed with browser compatibility in mind or that is agnostic with regards to platform is unlikely to suffer from the impacts of changed consumer behaviour. Companies such as the online gambling site Playfrank offer content that is equally easily browsed on mobile phones as on computers, whereas competitors with an exclusive app presence will struggle to keep pace. A spokesperson from PlayFrank Casino told us:

“The PlayFrank team made a decision early on to cater to our mobile phone users as we would our desktop users. Our aim is to give the best possible experience to our customers which means offering a standout service to both mobile and desktop users. The PlayFrank site is designed to be easily browsed on mobile phones and on computers. Some of our competitors have released their own apps in order to serve their mobile audience, however, we felt that by improving our product as a whole, we are able to better serve our users no matter what device they access our site from.” (Source: )

Indeed, moving forwards the balance between computer and mobile will likely dictate which services are reviewed most positively and which see the most growth and revenue. This will be especially true for apps that provide a kind of service that has previously been more dominant on mobile than computer but is now shifting, as mentioned above. A prime example of such services are professional online meeting platforms. 

Video conferencing app Zoom has become a household name in no small part because of the coronavirus. Yet the reason Zoom in particular became so popular, rather than its many competitors, is its ease of use on desktops combined with its free tier offering. Now that it has achieved such global recognition and market dominance, it will seek to consolidate its position with premium pricing moving forwards. This is a perfect example of a company smartly leveraging shifting behaviour to facilitate solid growth.

As we move further from our phones towards working and browsing the web on our computers, we should expect changes to which communication services are valued most highly. As the importance of mobile-friendliness decreases, lists raising apps like GoToMeeting to the highest acclaim will likely become less common. The coming months will see continued dramatically shifting behavioural dynamics as we continue to accommodate to a changing digital landscape.