What is true today is often outdated tomorrow in the digital world. Was just “mobile first” the topic of the hour, now all speak of “Mobile Only” – right?
At the beginning of the web design, designers were the first to design the desktop design of a website – the mobile version always ranked second. With the first iPhone, this development turned to Mobile First. Today it is now called: Mobile Only. Both approaches have written numerous books. An entire generation of developers has been trained with the appropriate focus. At the same time, our own experience tells us that the usage context is important today. If you want to write a text that is longer than 280 characters, this will not be done on the phone but on the PC. Depending on the context, location, and ease of use, we prefer to use the digital everyday companion in combination or alternately. This increases our expectations of the services that should work equally well on every digital device. See usability in a mobile app after trying the desktop version.
The context determines the functions
The question of the context of use indicates that not all functions that are available on the desktop must also be mobile. Another place, circumstance and the intention of the use require in many cases also other functions and operating logics. For example, Babbel’s desktop interface differs largely from its mobile counterpart. However, the break in the daily repeated changes hardly noticeable, since the mix between desktop and mobile is balanced.
So there is no question as to whether Mobile Only is still the right approach. Rather, developers need to ask what kinds of devices should be supported and what context of use their digital product is used for. Successful in this context will be a healthy mix of different functionalities. But what makes this successful mix and how do companies achieve an optimal, fluid experience across all channels for their users?
1. Optimum functionality across all channels
If this is not the case, the service will be deleted with high probability. For example, around 80 percent of the users of an app remove them after their first use. The reasons are many: bad design, bad user experience, slow performance and crashes immediately after installation. In order for an offer to meet users’ expectations and preferences in the long term, quality assurance should be given high priority.
2. Know your own customers
Anyone who would like to successfully position themselves in the digital environment in the long term can not avoid placing the user in the focus of his work. The customers and their needs dictate the direction of development. Businesses should, therefore, be able to meet their needs at all times and adapt to new circumstances as needed. Especially in the context of voice commerce, connected cars and the like, the challenges of ensuring a consistent user experience are becoming ever more demanding and therefore more difficult to solve.
3. Question products and adapt to new requirements
For a long time, digital products and apps have not been limited to traditional devices such as tablets or smartphones. Simply by the boom of the wearable market, the number of different devices constantly increases. Fitness trackers, portable cameras, smart watches, GPS tracking devices or smart clothing have their own requirements and challenges. They make the digital world part of everyday life and people part of the IoT ecosystem. Therefore, more than ever, providers of digital products must consistently develop their solutions from the user’s perspective. Short loading times are no problem when browsing the Internet, the users are used to them. When opening and closing a smart door lock, things look different: delays of a few seconds are already annoying. They demand fast response times with intuitive operation – right from the start, as alternatives are just a few clicks, touches and swipes away. This innovative power should go so far that entrepreneurs should not be afraid to cannibalize their own product.
With regard to App, another development is concise: the trend is moving away from individual applications, which are limited to individual services or problem solutions, to platforms that bundle several functions and services under one roof. The Facebook Messenger, Payback, WeChat and Co. show how something like this can look in practice. It seems as if that has been out of date for about a decade, unchanged principle of the classic app that offers singular functions or services. This would have made the question of Mobile Only also unnecessary, as it should go more intensely on how developers can integrate their services best in platforms.
The digital landscape is changing daily and is becoming more diverse. Digital products are becoming increasingly mobile, but are no longer found only on smartphone screens. Customers encounter digital products across mobile, desktop and IoT environments. Businesses need to think carefully about how to pick up their users. It will not be enough to develop a user interface for all platforms – these times are over, just like mobile-only or web-only apps. In this new environment, more than ever: quality is essential as a success criterion.