Mobility is a hot buzzword. Put the word mobile in a budget proposal and odds are good it will go straight to the top of the pile. But wait—not so fast!
Organizations are still all over the map in terms of mobile development. Some have completed their first generation approach and are assessing their go-forward plans. Some are just beginning to address the role of mobility in their operations, while others are in the planning stage. Some organizations want to “mobilize” existing application functionality, while other organizations want to build brand new mobile apps.
Business apps are all over the map as well—with some companies creating customer facing apps, some building internal applications, and some doing both.
But do organizations really know where they are going, what they want and whether they will get it with all these investments? Maybe not. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been seeing a refinement of thinking going on. No one I’ve talked to wants to reverse course, exactly, but want their new approach to be a little less rushed and more strategic.
One new approach is called mobile-first but is actually a misnomer. The philosophy behind mobile-first is to ensure that the design experience works for users, and works effectively across the entire spectrum of digital devices.
User-first app development considers a user's environment, work style and other factors.
As I have written before, a better name for this approach is “user-first.” We should design the experience for the user based on his or her environment, the type of application, their work or lifestyle, and other variables. The user-first approach requires focusing on their needs and wants rather than starting with the limitations of a particular device or medium.
Why is this important? Well, we have all experienced sub-optimal application experiences—and not just in the mobile world. As a consumer, If we have a sub-optimal experience, we will likely move to another option. This has a direct impact on bottom line. For employees, too, the impact of a poor application experience can hurt productivity and morale. In either case, there are good reasons to address the challenge.
User experience isn’t an easy situation to address since it is complicated by multiple factors, including:
From a technical perspective, there are other challenges:
The bottom line? By all means, embrace mobile, but make sure the user experience is front and center in your design and architecture approach. That will ensure that the investments you make are as effective as possible, and not just money thrown after a trend.
For more on adopting a user-friendly mobile development approach for your business, download my latest whitepaper, “9 Essentials to Create Amazing Applications Faster.”
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Mark Troester is the Vice President of Strategy at Progress. He guides the strategic go-to-market efforts for the Progress cognitive-first strategy. Mark has extensive experience in bringing application development and big data products to market. Previously, he led product marketing efforts at Sonatype, SAS and Progress DataDirect. Before these positions, Mark worked as a developer and developer manager for start-ups and enterprises alike. You can find him on LinkedIn or @mtroester on Twitter.
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