Mobile software solutions and the era of ‘less is more’

For enterprises and software houses looking to capture mobile users and drive revenue, or improve operational efficiencies, perhaps the mantra in the present era, should be to think ‘less is more’. Winning the hearts and minds of end users- be it for a business or consumer context – means creating applications that have usablity, convenience and speed at their heart. This is done by breaking complex processes down to be as straightforward and intuitive as possible.This is symptomatic of the way that users need to search for information, input and process data on mobiles.

“The age of mobility is driving the rise of smaller, more ‘component- based ‘ solutions.”

The approach of creating desktop applications, – which have traditionally worked on the basis of trying to pull in as many features as possible into any given application – is simply redundant on the mobile or tablet.

The age of mobility, and our thirst for information where and when we need it, is driving the rise of smaller, more ‘component- based ‘ solutions.

In general, the attention span of mobile device users is shorter than when working on desktops, and so time and speed are of the essence.

We need rich, task-oriented, engaging applications which provide information at the click of one button, designing processes to present data from different sources in the most logical way.

In the past, looking for a restaurant would send us to Google – now there is an app for that.

Likewise, if we want to check on updated flight times, or search for a new house in our area, we’d like to do this without scrolling through a multitude of different screens.

Of course, what’s good for the consumer also translates into the enterprise space and this trend means that, the days when one application provided all our needs, have shifted.

In the mobile era, ‘breaking’ elements down into smaller component parts, naturally has profound implications for the way that enterprise systems are designed to engage with users.

User behaviour shifts and deploying component based applications – rather than monolithic software – can increase user uptake and acceptance and improve productivity .

For example, if you’re updating the record for a customer account on the road, you should be presented only with the relevant fields of the application that are required for the business process in a single, easy-to-use format.

This shake up in the way that applications are created means that – rather than building in as much functionality as possible – they should be built with processes in mind.

So that, in effect, a smaller application is built for each business process that is mobilised.

If we’re working on a CRM system on a mobile, for instance, each business process needs to be broken down into an individual application, grouped under one header.

At the interface level, this mini application should contain no more than two to five screens. From our own experience at Magic Software, this is where we’ve found user’s acceptance of new applications remain high and reduces the possibility of confusion.

It remains to be seen if the software giants like Oracle and IBM are ready for this complete shift in the way applications are written and consumed.

Ultimately, the winners in this new era will be those that can redesign processes with the mindset of the user, their behaviours and expectations as the starting point.

That’s rather than creating a carbon copy of the traditional web, or desktop experience. In this new era, from the user’s perspective, speed and simplicity will win the day.

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