The Mobile Simplicity Imperative: Form Meets Function?

April 15, 2013      By Cecile Alper-Leroux

Native, HTML5, design-driven … at the end of the day these technical terms and concepts, while important, don’t capture the way that mobile solutions and devices have transformed us.

Tablets and smartphones have brought business solutions into the boardroom, are gearing up to replace textbooks in schools, and even play a huge role in disaster relief around the world. Simply put, mobile solutions have changed the nature of our daily activities, connected us to each other, and embedded technology in our lives.

But only when it works.

Like anything in life, when something fails or confuses us, we don’t use it. And in the case of mobile, these obstacles take the shape of poorly designed, cluttered experiences that don’t address what we need.

Increasingly, the attributes that make mobile devices different from other tools have come to feel natural to us. It no longer seems odd to command a device to ‘call mom’ by speaking to it or follow through on a task by touching a screen. As such, mobile applications and programs should match this ease by providing simple and intuitive capabilities; only then will they truly meet – and exceed – our needs and expectations.

Because mobile devices are smaller than computers, they must offer a more focused experience, guiding us quickly to the most important actions and insights. This is especially challenging in the world of business solutions where applications are built to streamline and complete a process instead of the people who interact or rely on it. Simple and instinctive designs put people first and focus on delighting, not frustrating them.

People have different connectivity and navigation expectations for their mobile devices. We rely on them on the go and often use cell signals instead of wireless Internet for connections, which can result in delayed downloads and poor experiences. We all want to move beyond traditional methods of searching and viewing to taking action on search results. These transitions must be simple and intuitive in order to be truly person-centric. And the designers behind these solutions need to account for this when building mobile experiences.

The reality of mobile is that the explosion of available apps has been matched by an equal randomization of quality experiences. Mobile experiences, both for consumer and business use, will continue to evolve, whether as standalone applications or extensions of existing business solutions like UltiPro. From our perspective, we are committed to not only expanding our mobile capabilities, but doing so in a way that never loses its focus on people and exceeding their standards for working, staying connected, managing their workplace narrative, and collaborating.

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