Just make that mobile application work fast, simple, smart…
“Your ClickMobile product is amazingly fast”,said one of our end-users while we were visiting his company and reviewing the project.
“It’s smart, I only see what I need to see, the application leads me through the workflows, it tells me what to do, or if I missed anything, it lets me do things quickly. It makes sense!”
Boy, is this nice to hear or what?
It sure is. But that’s not the reason I’m writing about this end-user particular feedback. (Well, maybe a little bit).
The reason I’m writing about it is because it reminded me of one of the most basic yet important principals in enterprise mobility: keep it simple, make it smart.
Smartphones and tablets are so powerful these days, they can run a complete office, and still, when talking about mobile applications – the CPU power cannot overshadow a problematic user interface, or an inefficient data loading, or the lack of decent validations or workflows.
Users need to get things done quickly and efficiently when they are outside working.
They need to get inside (their mobile app), do their thing, invest minimal clicks, minimal typing, trust their system to protect them from making mistakes or wasting time on redundant procedures, and get out. It’s as simple as that.
In a way, it’s a good practice to think that your mobile users hate you, and hate using your product. Think of it as your secret mission to make them hate it less by reducing the amount of interaction they need to have with it…
I call it: reducing the administrative burden, and I think that a good mobile product will eventually become the user’s best friend because it will help him do his job faster, better, and easier.
Let’s get back to what our end-user said and break it down to key features available in ClickMobile:
- It’s smart: (well… who am I to argue…)
- I only see what I need to see (ClickMobile’ has the ability to present things differently based on the content. It means that only relevant information is presented based on data type, status, context, time)
- The application leads me through the workflow (ClickMobile leads the user through a procedure he needs to follow. Whenever a step finishes, the user can proceed. There is also an option to jump straight to a specific stage without wasting time going through all the stages)
- It tells me what to do (ClickMobile’s powerful forms engine allows adding visual indications to “visualize” the processes and guide the users while capturing data or filling completion reports)
- Or if I missed anything (ClickMobile’s smart are validations preventing the users from missing important stuff or entering the wrong values)
- It lets me do things quickly (Shortcuts and “single click” buttons are an important part of the ClickMobile approach: we take frequently used activities and turn them into a “smart button” that performs a sequence of actions in one shot. This approach can turn 7-8 clicks into one, it can save typing or searching for data, and thus improve not only the users productivity but also their overall satisfaction)
- It makes sense! (well, of course it is! We designed it!)
OK, so let’s recap the things we discussed:
Speed, efficiency, performance – are not just hardware driven. In enterprise mobility, the challenge is to simplify a complicated system and turn it into something simple, easy to use.
Smart mobile applications such as ClickMobile, are optimized to operate efficiently while in the field: load minimal data (only what is required), present subsets of the information based on the context (data type, time, location, stage, user), guide the users by using wizards, workflows, validations, auto-population, filters of information, and of course, do all this even when you are working completely offline in a disconnected environment.