As our series of exclusive insights from members of the MobileCaddy team continues, I sat down with our Senior Mobile Technical Architect, Todd Halfpenny, to discuss what he feels is the most important thing for business leaders to get right to successfully build a mobile app which delivers value for their employees.
Todd explained: “Essentially, the design of an application – not just in terms of its graphical representation, but how it’s actually built, and the UX flows which are thought about – is the key thing in mobile at the moment.
Because users are working across so many different devices now, especially with BYOD becoming more and more popular, you have to be able to cater for all sorts of different screen sizes and different hardware with your design decisions.
If you take one of our clients, Biocomposites, Ltd., for example, their mobile app has a built-in barcode scanner. Now because this is a community app, some users may not have a camera on their device at all. So we had to design the app for that situation without compromising on the end user’s experience. Of course, if an app’s UX isn’t good enough then it won’t achieve the desired adoption.
So consider some users may have different hardware, but also some users will often be in very different working conditions. The app needs to be usable in any situation, because if it isn’t then it will be making the user’s job more difficult, when it should be making it much easier.”
However, there are some positives to take from the current fragmented device market, as well as innovations which can be realised by thinking strategically about each app’s different use cases.
Todd continued, “Of course, the flip side to that is looking past the pitfalls and thinking about the opportunities that come up because of these different devices and contexts. You can now use information and features the device can give you, like NFC capabilities, masses of processing power for analysing big data, image capture and geolocation features, just to name a few.
It’s not just a case of an employee sitting at a desk anymore, we can start to think well beyond that, as the business processes that are being mobilised are now adapting and evolving as a result of the mobile settings they’re being put in.”
Regarding any tips, based on his experience, for how business can give themselves the best chance of getting their mobile app’s UX right, Todd offered the following advice:
“The success stories we’ve experienced at MobileCaddy have all stemmed from our clients having end users involved from very early on in the cycle. Often the design process only involves the Project Manager, Product Manager, or Business Analyst’s point of view, but getting the end users involved in things like wireframing and at the proof of concept stage can be really helpful. Getting their input, to minimise the risk of misunderstanding how employees want to use mobile apps to do their work, can save a lot of time and money.
Having this engagement and feedback with the workforce has paid dividends to all our clients. It’s important to be aware that sometimes the people driving a mobile app project won’t have as clear a view of what the people on the ground need, but those end users are the ones that matter most, and the UX has to deliver for this.”
Of course, business leaders must ensure every aspect of their strategy is given sufficient attention to allow their mobile apps to be successful. However, we at MobileCaddy believe that user experience is so important because if the app isn’t adopted by the intended users, the investment can effectively go to waste. This is why we work hard to deliver fully customisable user interfaces, allowing our clients to provide the experience their employees need, making it as easy as possible for them to do their jobs.
Todd Halfpenny is Senior Mobile Technical Architect for MobileCaddy. Todd has over 12 years experience working in mobile telecoms. Having specialised in data policy control and LTE, he is well-versed in real-time applications and mobile network architecture. Currently pursuing all things related to front-end development, he is keen to blur the lines between mobile and desktop experiences.