Not so long ago I was really interested in keeping up with the latest technology trends and keeping up with all of the new and innovative products coming to market. And then I got to a point where I really did not care anymore; information overload as it were. Now I am working on this new phase of my career and my life, I am having to spend some time once again focusing on technology and my relationship to it and how it will impact me and my business.
As a web designer my lowest common denominator is HTML and how it renders in a web browser. Once upon a time that was relatively easy to keep up with. There were not many HTML enabled mobile devices and what was out there was so rudimentary they were simply ignored. Desktop browser updates were few and far between and for the longest time there were such a small number to even pay attention to that keeping up was easy. There were frustrations to be sure, but easily overcome. Jump to today and I cannot even begin to comprehend all of the possible variations available now, and that is where things get interesting.
In my personal life I adopted Apple as my platform of choice a long time ago. Professionally I have switched platforms a few times over the years. Primarily I have designed and developed on a PC, but as of late I am completing most of my work on Apple hardware using Mac applications and Windows applications where needed. My mobile platform is Apple and pretty much always has been. So here I am working in a rather small eco-system. This is the system I chose and one I am happy with, but there are so many other options out there that I feel it is necessary that I am aware of. But how does one keep up in an environment that is moving so quickly?
Currently I am trying to get back into at least understanding where technology is going by listening to various podcasts on the subject. My go-to source is the TWiT network, but I am exploring others as well. Hardware, on the other hand, is going to be a lot more difficult. I can listen to reviews and impressions, but I have limited experience in how they work and ultimately how I can make sure what I do works on these devices. I am just getting started with this business so resources are limited and I cannot pick up every new device that hits the market. Even the “major” items are debuting faster and faster making it challenging to know what is going on. It is a confusing time to try and figure it all out.
I have Apple pretty well understood. There is a consistency with their products and user upgrades to newer OS releases is typically very high. The Android market is notoriously diverse and while some consistency is starting to emerge from Google, there are so many other manufacturers doing their own thing with the OS. Windows is still number one for desktops, but with each version of Internet Explorer comes new challenges and old versions never seem to go away. Their mobile platform is still up in the air. Blackberry is also still on the table, but appears to be quickly fading away; I have not met anyone in the past year or two that still ha a Blackberry device.
So for now I think my main option is to continue to focus on what I know and slowly begin expanding into the other realms. I can address the desktop ecosystem without too much extra effort. I always do cross browser and cross platform testing, I simply need to streamline those procedures and make sure I am addressing the correct applications and operating systems. For mobile support I am going to look at Android – Google’s devices specifically since I think they will be setting the trends on that platform in terms of new devices. Others will just have to be rolled in as needed.