Did you know that nearly half of Smart Phone and mobile device users are unhappy with how business mobile applications perform on their devices? Recently, a study revealed that 43% of smart phone users and 41% of tablet users found their mobile business apps less than impressive, when considering simplicity of function or easy access to critical information. When planning for a mobile application, there are many factors to consider if you want to ensure a successful implementation and business user adoption.
User Involvement: First, the IT staff must ensure that the user and employee community is involved in planning and reviewing the requirements and the prototype. If the business wants to avoid a misstep, it must involve the users upfront and understand user skills, the way users need to interact with the application, the types of devices they will use to access information, and the workflow and processes they must employ to complete a task. Involve your users early and they will become your best advocates and champions.
Work Processes and Workflow: It isn’t likely that the mobile application will accommodate every business process. Rather than trying to ‘shoe horn’ a process into a mobile app, it is wiser to review the processes and requirements and choose those that are critical to business tasks and that can be made accessible via touch screen, stylus or other mobile device access methods. A mobile app may not be suitable to create a presentation, but you can probably ship a product or check the status of a project.
Define the Scope: You may want to start small but breaking up the business processes into bite-sized projects so that you can achieve ROI and put the app in the hands of the users more quickly. You can add processes or ‘modules’ if you will be leaving room in the design to ‘connect the dots’ later on.
Choose Your Platform Wisely: Rather than trying to build a mobile app from the ground up, you may want to consider a development platform with ready-made tools, widgets and features that will enhance and speed the process.
Prototype and Then…Do it Again: Today’s IT teams are fortunate to have access to agile software development methods and rapid prototyping processes. There is nothing like putting a prototype into a user’s hands to encourage effective feedback and obtain valuable information on how to improve the application before spending a lot of time and money to develop the final product. Keeps the process going! Get the feedback and create another prototype so users can test the response time, performance and ease of use on mobile devices. This will also help you to identify new features and functionality before you solidify the final product.
Use a Template Approach: Create a template for access, user rights, security, storage, content presentation, etc. Use that template for all aspects of the mobile app and to present information that is integrated from other applications and systems, as well as to design new mobile apps. This will ensure that your users are familiar with the look and feel and instinctively know where and how to find and process information.
There are many ways to ensure the success of a mobile application development project. This article includes just a few of those ways. Perhaps the single, most important aspect of mobile app development is to involve your users in every step. From requirements planning and scope boundaries to prototype testing and feedback, the more involved your users are, the better the outcome, and that includes return on investment (ROI), total cost of ownership (TCO) and assured user adoption. After all, your users are the ones who have to leverage the application to get the work done and achieve business results. Why not give them what they need and, in so doing, make it a win-win for everyone in the enterprise!