The way in which smartphones are being used today by consumers has completely changed with the advent of mobile technology. The manner by which the workforce is to be empowered by the enterprises is being revolutionized by the current mobility trend. Smart device proliferation like smartphones, tablets, phablets and notebooks, including internet connectivity evolution are the primary reasons. Organizations are pressurized to go mobile due to increasing employee expectations.
‘Mobile Advantage’ is all about users being allowed to access information and communicate anywhere and anytime, staying connected always.
Some detailed key parameters to look at for implementing mobile first strategy.
Responsive site design: Mobile devices are being increasingly used by people for performing regular activities, such as responding to co-workers and customers while at the field, checking office emails when on the move, taking crucial decisions quickly even from home.
With a whole range of device accessible today, employees are expected to have various hand-held device types having different OS mobile versions. It is challenging to create mobile apps for supporting every device, especially with employee number growing. Designing website first would not appear great on different form factors and screen size of various mobile devices.
Hence, to offer better UI, save cost and with less effort, an appropriate technique would be to develop responsive site design that is optimized across all devices. For instance, responsive style designed corporate site available for staffs and customers in device optimized format.
Enterprise System Mobilization: The current set of apps is not just limited to consumers; your staff’s productivity can also be enhanced. Rather than have your staffs to become dependent upon their PCs / laptop, a smartphone/tablet can be handed to them with crucial apps installed. Your staff can get access through this enterprise app to information from your Financial Systems, ERPs, CRMs, etc. securely.
Device specific features enabled: Mobile users are to be offered rich user experience most of the times. As the name suggests, smart features are to be present in smart phones, having numerous functionalities in them, being specific to particular device. Few of them are voice enabler, accelerometer, camera, GPS, etc.
Hence, if a native application is planned to be implemented for the users, then the best device specific features are to be used (based upon iPad, iPhone, Android Tablet, Android Phone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone).
Business based Responsive Site Design
As a website is created by the developer, often they are seen to design for bigger screens, thereby losing sight as to its appearance, when the user has same site browsed from their mobile phones. As links are clicked by the users within the site through their mobile phones, navigation and reading becomes tough, requiring re-sizing and zooming for clicking or reading. It is here that the importance of device-specific site developing becomes necessary.
Single fit all size: Responsive site design is considered to be a procedure which recommends design and website implementation to respond to environment and user behavior based upon screen size, operating system and orientation of their device.
It is for those informational web pages that responsive web design is found to be quite suitable, with information present on the screen’s right side in desktop application, while in mobile applications is brought to page bottom.
Responsive Web Design Benefits
Responsive web design does come with few benefits like:
Single code base: develop once to run in all devices
Used across all screen sizes – internet can be viewed on 20” monitors, 10” netbooks, 15” laptops, 3” smartphones, 7” tablets and every size that is found in between. The wide difference in heights and widths is also considered, if screen is portrait or landscape along with screen resolution.
Enhances SEO: Page rank is improved with the site’s single version. Page ranking is impacted upon issues that arise in the site’s two versions.
Effort and maintenance cost reduces because of single link
Offers flexibility and control: At a single centralized place, changes are possible. Multiple vendors are not required to be contacted for making changes when different development firms develop your mobile application/site.
Responsive Web Design is applicable in three major scenarios
Blog Sites/Corporate Sites: Need of the business, generally is site first and mobile second. Rich images are less required for corporate sites, while target audience is regarded a great factor and device-agnostic solutions higher. There is no need for extensive user input and minimum images needed for blog sites. Brand consistency is held primary for such site types. With a single site working on mobile and desktop screens, keeping brand identity consistent is much easier. Also, for communicating between multiple vendors like various entities responsible for site mobile and desktop versions, style guides are not required.
News/Media Sites: Users in such site types are much accustomed towards scrolling to bottom from top when using their mobile device. Here, responsive Web Design functions better. Such sites are considered to be text-heavy, while sections like breaking news do need updates of real-time content, adding to maintenance expenses, if for the design, various mobile technology options get used.
Location related Services: Generally, direction and maps finder services have been considered to be image heavy. It becomes necessary to use the fingers on the screen for viewing closely the routes and for getting better clarity resizing and zooming, in such service types. Moreover, auto-adjustment is essential, something that is supported by Responsive Web Design.
Enterprise Mobile Applications – Selecting appropriate Technology Option
The way we stay informed, work and shop, has been completely revolutionized by mobile technology. Almost every person in the U.S. has a mobile device, while a smart phone is possessed by almost 1 in 3, a device that is regarded similar to the traditional laptop in power. In other countries, such explosive development gets repeated.
The current mobile devices powerful capabilities are what have been offering fertile ground, especially for the countless thrilling applications. Even though consumer apps enjoy the highest demand, there is constant emergence of new business applications, allowing partners and employees to be more productive. Any enterprise interested to inform, assist and engage its employees or customers can find mobile applications to create unavoidable opportunities.
A mobile audience is definitely something that most companies would prefer to reach, often IOs are quite uncertain as to how this dynamic environment is to be pursued. An essential decision which is to be taken by companies: development architecture which offers mobile application based foundation. Is cross-mobile platform, mobile web solution or native development preferred? Every approach does have its own weaknesses, appropriate use cases and strengths – how different parameters are to be sorted through for making the correct choice? Moreover, for every approach, there are present numerous development tools and frameworks. How the right one is to be picked?
Mobile Applications based Key Technology Choices
Although mobile applications development comes with numerous technology options, lay of land can be simplified upon. It is in three basic ways that development of mobile applications is possible.
Native apps: Have application developed in native code for running on specific operating system and device. It is from the app store that app gets downloaded and resides on device.
Cross-Platform Apps: Using cross-platform framework, develop application once and have it run on different mobile platforms (once fine-tuning is done for every platform). Also from the app store, it is downloaded and resides on the equipment.
Mobile Web Apps: Applications to be developed for running from central server over the web, from where any device having web browser can access it.
Because of underlying technology differences, every approach is known to have its own drawbacks and advantages, appropriate use cases and development frameworks. There is need of careful analysis for ensuring that the developed application makes use of the appropriate technology for desired functionality. The different approaches are summarized below by the following table:
To have the correct technology framework identified, few key questions are given below that needs to be addressed to:
- Who will make use of the apps?
- What experience type is expected by the users?
- What is the required functionality?
- Multi-platform compatibility and its importance?
- Is there a need for the app to run offline or if connection is poor?
- Industry-specific needs are there?
- Time required for developing the app?
- Is the required skill set possessed by the staff?
- Total ownership cost?
- How soon are the new OS features or device required?
There are several aspects to be considered when it comes to trying to have the appropriate technology framework to be identified, which entirely depends upon the type of business requirements and the industry you belong to. The application’s purpose needs to be properly understood, the users to be, capabilities required and experience type expected by them. The other factors tend to include portability and security for running applications across all major multiple platforms including the cost aspect.
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