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User experience shapes the future of mobile app development

Mobile application development trends may come and go, but one thing remains constant: keeping the user at the forefront of the design process.

Mobility has created a major shift in the consumer and enterprise technology markets, and application development has felt the brunt of it.

As more organizations consider developing and deploying their own apps, the need to keep up with consumer apps poses a significant challenge. To keep up with the future of mobile app development, organizations should take a cue from the consumer market and focus on user experience, said Bob Egan, CEO and founder of Seraphim Group, a mobile analyst firm in Falmouth, Mass.

Here, Egan discusses what he calls the "seismic shift" of mobility and its effect on enterprise app development.

How has app development evolved in response to mobility?

Bob Egan: The first earthquake that hit -- at a 7.0 -- was that everything people had learned about app development in terms of web or the desktop had to be thrown away. Those skills just didn't play well, and any company who tried to morph that into mobile app development got into serious trouble. Then, we got into the second earthquake: those companies that tried to design apps just for the iPhone or just for Android and found that didn't work. They also approached it with the mentality of trying to shrink the apps they made for the web down to a postage-sized app, which didn't allow for great user experience.

Bob Egan, CEO and founder, Seraphim GroupBob Egan

What should organizations know before developing apps?

Egan: You have to design for mobile first and think about how that affects how you build for the web and the desktop. You get more concise and provide a much more pleasurable user experience [with mobile]; that's job one.

When you say 'mobile first,' it's not about mobile phones. If you're moving around, your weapon of choice is not going to be a desktop or laptop; it's going to be a phone or tablet. Mobility is causing people to understand it's about the mobile experience, not the device.

It's about the mobile experience, not the device.
Bob EganCEO and founder, Seraphim Group

What is the biggest challenge for the future of mobile app development?

Egan: The pace of development has just accelerated. Even if you were a company that updated your applications for security or user experience or features once per quarter, you now have the more complex task of revamping the experience through features, and you want to push those changes out across whatever device an individual is using. It also creates a lot of disasters in organizations because the application development pool is just inexperienced. Because they're being pushed to do things faster, the things they trade off for speed are information security and privacy.

How can organizations balance user access needs and security?

Competitive advantages of mobile apps for customers, employees

Egan: They have to think about the infrastructure needed to have a user's multiple devices simultaneously accessing the same information. Say a bank customer is logged in to their account on their laptop and also wants to log in on their phone. People aren't just logging in with one device. All of that requires the infrastructure to be able to adapt to the capacity of more individuals doing more things simultaneously.

Mobile app developers need to make the applications much more efficient in terms of bandwidth use and make sure organizations have the capacity to support many more volumes of users exponentially.

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This was last published in July 2017

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