A brief thought on .mobi

Setting aside the ongoing debate about the necessity for a dedicated mobile domain suffix, why has the industry chosen a lengthy and difficult-to-enter character string like M-O-B-I. There are so many other letter combinations which would be easier to enter using multitap on a nine button keypad.

MOBI will require 6-pause-6-6-6-2-2-4-4-4. That’s nine keystrokes to enter the suffix alone. Hardly the best way to improve content discovery on mobile devices…

W-A-P would have been a much more usable choice. Three key presses, evenly distributed around the keypad: 9-2-7.

Of course, it remains to be seen how many mobile content providers will choose to promote .mobi URLs for their services – after all, there are plenty of other content discovery mechanisms which sidestep the need for users to enter URLs – but think of the accumulated time which will be wasted on entering this suffix simply because the industry chose a letter combination which suited the marketeers rather than the users…

Simplicity saves time and time saved has a proportional impact on the user experience.

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  1. 1
    Ronan Cremin

    Marek, this was a balance between a memorable name and something that was easy to write. While the suffix is indeed long, it is likely that the mobile browser creators will aid the user by adding this suffix to their auto-complete drop downs, or assume that this is the suffix if none is input by the user (in much the same way as some desktop browsers already do for .com etc.)

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