Our world has definitely ‘gone mobile’, both during and after working hours. Access to information and services is available everywhere, and at any time and this forces professional organizations to face questions regarding their mobile strategy. In this blog post, we'll look at the 3 key questions you should consider.
Mobile devices are ubiquitous in modern daily life and they are quickly becoming the main personal computer for most of us.
Mobile platforms are flourishing: their capabilities keep increasing - they will quickly take over the tasks of desktop computers and it won’t be long before people will have a mobile device as their only computer.
Obviously, your business can't ignore these platforms. But everything depends on the services and tools you offer to your users. For example: if your business offers visualizations of complex data sets which simply can't be shown on smaller screens, you shouldn't try to make them available on mobile.
On the other hand, if you want to offer services, tools or content to an audience as broad as possible, mobile users are an integral part of your users.
You could look at past statistics to gain insight about the devices used to access your services, but you shouldn't always rely solely on those statistics to predict future behavior of your users:
We can’t predict future behavior from a current experience that sucks.
- Jason Grigsby
Mobile, like any other platform, has its own strengths and weaknesses. Devices are mobile simply because they are made much smaller compared to traditional computers. That impacts screen real estate (the screens on mobile devices are a lot smaller than on desktop devices), speed and user interface.
Exactly because such a device is mobile, there are numerous great opportunities. The presence of advanced sensors (motion, ambient light, GPS), connectivity and cameras greatly enhances user experience of mobile devices. Embrace the opportunities they open up for offering enhanced services and tools to users.
The mobile device landscape is currently mainly dominated by iOS and Android devices.
Other players, like BlackBerry or Windows Phone, are left with a tiny portion of the market. As you can see in the graph below, iOS and Android are currently the platforms through which - combined - you can reach the largest possible audience in the mobile space at a reasonable cost.
There is a big difference between offering services and tools through mobile apps, compared to offering them through the web. By nature, the web is designed to be platform agnostic, so it is the medium of choice when you want to reach the largest possible audience and when accessibility is key.
Apps, on the other hand, are optimized for every platform separately - that is their purpose. Developing and supporting apps thus requires lots of expertise and the according budgets.
Keep in mind that platform market share is well established now. The landscape probably won't change much in the short term as users are often locked into platforms - every platform has its own cloud services and specific apps which can't easily be migrated.
Jan Lemmens is a DXM and ECM Consultant at Amplexor, based in Belgium. As an enthusiast for platform-independent design and open source technology, Jan focuses in architecting and building innovative, cost-effective and user-friendly solutions for Enterprise customers. He has been responsible for several successful Drupal API and architecture projects.