10 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Selecting and Deploying a Mobile Solution – Mistake #4
Mobilefever’s “10 common mistakes…” guide continues, and today we take a dive into one of the most important aspects of mobility, and that’s USABILITY.
But before we begin, here’s a preview of the previous mistakes we have covered so far:
Previously in “10 common mistakes…”:
About the guide: 10 Common Mistakes You Can Avoid When Selecting and Deploying a Mobile Solution
Mistake #4: Compromising on Usability
Space: the final frontier.
These are the voyages of humanity, to explore strange new user interface designs, to seek out new concepts, and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
To find the best usability experience out there!
Usability is an important aspect in any software application, but when it comes to mobility it is critical for the success of the project because using a mobile device is different than using a desktop; users will often face a smaller keyboard (or a device with no keyboard at all), smaller screen, no mouse, limited connectivity etc. In some cases the working environment will dictate uncomfortable places to work in, sunny or rainy weather that makes reading the screen extremely difficult and more.
Those are hostile conditions for mobile applications, and the users take no prisoners. If the software is not working properly, or if it’s not simple to use – they will simply not use it! And then that time comes, that means troubles for your mobile projects.
Remember that filling forms, reporting ongoing statuses, and working hours are essentially administration and are considered a burden, which means doing them should take the minimum time and effort.
Tip#4: Whatever you do – do not compromise on usability. This tip is relevant for selecting the solution, planning the project, and implementation.
But, usability is not just in the software, it’s also part of the hardware, which means the mobile device you will pick, will affect the end user experience. (check out our mobile device selection tips)
Usability depends on the network as well: bandwidth, coverage problems, can definitely turn a good mobile solution into a nightmare if it’s not optimized or cannot handle network coverage (check out our Field Testing section for more tips about network tests)
Usability is mostly affected by performance. Imagine the perfect app working too slow – it may really harm usability and reduce the users satisfaction.
The form factor can really affect the usability: from screen only devices, to the “pro” style with a sliding keyboard, all the way to business oriented devices (full QWERTY keyboard and a screen) to keyboard only devices with no screen at all (curtsey of the MobileSpoon…)
Remember, not all the field users are computer experts, and many of them dislike the fact they need to fill in reports and completion forms.
When you select, or implement a mobile solution – do not think “desktop“. Think “mobile“. Think differently. Think simple, self explanatory, easy to use, think about minimum typing (otherwise your user will escape from the application just like that poor button…).
On a personal note, when we designed our own ClickMobile application, we’ve invested hours in learning the users environments, their frequently used activities, their pains, getting their feedback – all in order to create a great usability experience.
The entire UI is designed in a finger friendly manner, both for the PC/Laptops/tablets version and the PDA/Smartphones version.
In addition, ClickMobile has some unique concepts of user interface, designed to turn long activities into simple ones, using our ‘Single Click Approach‘ (creating user defined shortcuts that turn commonly used activities into a smart button such as changing a status, triggering a GPS navigation, sending a notification to the customer, etc.)
ClickMobile’s Widgets are also a way to improve usability by giving the users useful mini-apps loaded onto their mobile client, serving their daily needs (today those widgets can support both ClickMobile specific apps as well as html/java script web-widgets which are platform independent.
ClickMobile’s Widgets Bar at the right can host a number of collapsible widgets, both native or web based…
So, to summarize the whole USABILITY chapter:
Never underestimate the importance of usability. Especially in mobility, then the conditions are different than with desktop applications.
And remember what an old man once said:
Bad Usability WILL Kill the Project.
See you all tomorrow with common mistake number 5!
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