the silence of the how

As a mobile product manager, I noticed that the patterns of consumption across the network of sites that I managed were wide and shallow.  I attribute this to the "how" and not the "what" of the content that was being delivered.  In a mobile context, the biggest handicap is time and physical ability.

Response times are not fast enough for the click and wait paradigm of the regular web.  You don't think about the time in between screens and rarely see the entire screen go white before you have to make another selection.  This latency makes it nearly impossible to cruise around and "browse" the mobile web and has forced the medium in the task-oriented paradigm of today.  Get in, grab, and go.  There's no time to sit around waiting for a screen to load.

When the latency factor was removed and broadband became mainstream, we saw a huge shift in behavior.  People started using the web differently.  I remember not being able to embed a video clip in a page because of the impact it would have on its performance.  So, we would build lists of links to video clips that could be downloaded and played offline to take advantage of the native processing power of the CPU.  In addition to speed, new flat rate pricing models also changed behavior.  There was a new found freedom in browsing and clicking on whatever you want with no regard for the consequences or the fear of having to pay for it later.