It is all about focusing on screens, rather than devices.
“Mobile First” or “Mobile Only” are the words ringing in tech-savvy users for past few years. Since the time, iOS and Android have taken over the apps marketplace; companies have really diverted themselves, opting for a mobile presence instead of being on the web. Today, if you surf the internet, you are surrounded by all sorts of reading material, courses, and books, on how to be mobile first, or mobile only.
However, the times are changing. There is a new trend flooding the market nowadays, wherein companies are opting for web apps development for larger screens. If mobile apps seem to be the past, present, and future of technological arena, then why do web apps design for big screens?
Let us look at a few names who quite recently thought web apps is a wise decision to deal with – Cover Stories, Instagram, Uber, Waze, and probably more that we haven’t even discussed here.
#1. Giving preference to screens rather than devices
With a fast paced changing tech environment, it is still a big deal to decide how to design for varied screen sizes. Remember the time, when you used to laugh at the “phablet” category when it was first introduced. Today, phablets is a common term heard among the mobile users across the globe. No matter what you deal with, whether desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and quite recently phablets; the only thing remaining common amongst the changing screen sizes is developing for an optimal screen.
Designing for an optimal screen is still a moving target, where it is difficult to hit a bullseye. With smart watches gaining momentum, the time is not far off where there will be a hoard of smartwatch apps bringing in new challenges. Consider smartphones as the center point of reference, representing all the device screens, being a wrong notion followed for years now. The main achievement lies in the fact that information is published and accessed easily on every device, irrespective of the screen dimensions.
Obsession about specific mobile OSes is also way too wrong, as you have to think about the generic application design and development, regardless of the OS type you are referring to. Think of delivering information through screens, rather than going with the flow and concentrating on devices. When selling everything, right from to-do apps to enterprise software, it is time to think about big screens, instead of mingling around with smartphone screens.
#2. Users do not have just smartphones in their lives
Most businesses live under the incorrect impression of prioritizing mobile apps over everything else, just because mobile users are more in number as compared to web users. However, you need to think from a universal perspective. You cannot generalize the fact that people who use their smartphones are quite certainly not using any other devices to go online. It is true that for the majority of internet users, mobile is a primary source.
However, it is not the only screen where they can accomplish everything they want to. Certain tasks can be performed, or accessed, only on big screens, wherein smartphone usage takes a back seat.
So, if businesses just concentrate in targeting a niche smartphone market, then they are going nowhere because their products or services will not be seen by viewers accessing big screens. Consider even larger screens, especially that of a television, where your apps wouldn’t be of any use whatsoever. The key to success here is thinking of the time users spend on big screens in an entire day.
#3. Accessing enterprise software on mobile is not that popular
Many businesses are advised to create enterprise apps for use amongst employees. However, how many of them would actually prefer to use small sized enterprise apps over enterprise software meant for big screens? Employees are so used to working on big screens that they would rather prefer to use their smartphones just for personal use. While at work, employees can use enterprise software on their desktops or laptops with ease, with a parallel access to other things on the web such as emailing, messaging, being social, sports, news, or more; delivering an utmost satisfaction than doing the same on mobile.
Imagine a bunch of applications like Trello, BaseCamp, Slack, Intercom, Google Docs, etc. Do you really think that users will love using this software on mobile? There is a high probability that users will open up their laptops or desktops and start using them. A large screen is given more preference over a small mobile app here. Desktops or laptops play a lead role, with smartphones going into the supporting role.
#4. Organizations experience short term success by being ‘mobile only’
When businesses pitch themselves as “mobile only”, they are alerting users that their presence is limited, passing on the wrong signals to them. This leads to short term success and long term failure that businesses might regret for the rest of their life. Users have the habit of analyzing a business, possibly on all platforms, to check the credibility factor. That is why businesses need to extend themselves on all screens by adopting the philosophy of targeting all screens. For guaranteed positive results over time, businesses should focus on tracking user behavior and response after certain intervals, to check out the areas of improvement.
#5. Emphasis should be on being task oriented, not trend oriented
Keep yourself in the shoes of a user, and think for a minute, “Can this specific task within your application be performed or accessed in a better way on a small screen, or is a big screen more feasible?” As an enterprise, you should divert yourself towards being a service oriented company, delivering products delivering the best customer experiences on all screens.
Different tasks have different screen needs. Some of them can be performed on mobile while others need bigger screens. Hence, depending on the tasks, optimize the screen and let your applications or software be task oriented, instead of smartphone trends.
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