Make Mobile First: Designing Next Generation Solutions

Guest post from: Michael Ashley, Accellion

By 2017 there are expected to be 4.4 billion mobile app users worldwide. Despite the fact that many of us are using mobile devices as often, or more often, than desktop devices, most of the software solutions being developed and marketed today are not designed with a mobile-first perspective. Why is it that the industry is having such a hard time evolving software designs to work with preferred mobile form factors?

It’s about rethinking the experience, because the way end users interact with a mobile device is much different than a laptop or desktop, no matter if it’s a game or a business tool. The best mobile experiences are about speed and ease of use, whereas on a PC, people are more concerned about what types of functionality and features they get. 

This has to change – we live in an increasingly mobile world and should design our solutions with a mobile-first perspective. This means that those designing applications for the mobile era need to think differently about the entire user experience that someone will have as they utilize the solution.

For this exponentially growing number of mobile users, software and app providers need to design solutions that focus on the few key elements of a solution, so users can quickly access the functions they need. The fastest way to kill adoption of an app is to make users search through extraneous details, menus or buttons that slow them down, in addition to cluttering up the design on a small screen.

We’re in a new era of mobile computing, and those companies creating solutions that are meant to be used across all devices, spanning smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops, need to accept this, and truly evolve the way they build new solutions.

At Accellion we approached design for our latest solution, kiteworks, starting from a tablet-first perspective. Why a tablet?  Well we decided that the tablet was the optimum form factor for our application in today’s mobile era.  We created the solution for the tablet form factor, and then scaled the functionality down for smartphones and scaled it up for desktop/laptops. We now have the same user-experience across all devices, and have integrated it with MobileIron’s MDM solution to ensure users have quick, secure access to the content they need, from the device they choose.

Any company that wants to compete in their industry over the next five years needs to do the same, and strive to create mobile-friendly solutions. Companies that don’t design for mobile first will be left behind by their customers and competitors alike.

Michael Ashley